Challenging Topics at GCSE


Work Group Leads work on a single GCSE ‘topic’ with their groups, establishing what the issues are and what the common misconceptions are, how these might be addressed through activities and questioning which promote deeper thinking and how teaching in KS3 might be modified or utilised to improve understanding for this topic in KS4.

Within the ‘old’ GCSE there were a number of topics that consistently proved challenging for many teachers and their pupils for a variety of reasons, either that the content itself was perceived to have an inherently high level of challenge or that it was less difficult material but somehow proved difficult to teach in a way that made sense to pupils, resulting, at best, in an instrumental understanding. 

With the new GCSE the list of challenging topics has actually changed little from previous years, and an evidence-based list of challenging topics arising in the new GCSE was drawn up with awarding bodies.

Nationally, Work Groups are set up to explore effective ways of teaching some of these topics, both to address the immediate needs of the incoming KS4 pupils, but also taking a longer term view by considering development in KS3.  Each individual WG focuses on just one topic, but WG Leads will have access to the work and resources done by other groups.