Gareth Metcalfe has designed a set of four interactive in-depth training sessions exploring the pedagogy of problem solving.

Ideally this project is designed for the maths leader and one other teacher, preferably teaching in different phases of the school. However as releasing two members of staff is not always easy, this will work just as well for one person.

These session will take place half termly:

Wednesday 6th October 1:00pm – 3:30pm

Wednesday 1st December 1:00pm – 3:30pm

Wednesday 2nd February 1:00pm – 3:30pm

Wednesday 30th March 1:00pm – 3:30pm

Due to the nature of the sessions, there are only a limited number of places.

Cost: £150 for one person from your school, £250 for two people. This cost is the total cost for all 4 sessions (not per session).  To make a booking please see form below or email me on

Project Outline

In this project, pairs of teachers from participating schools will develop the teaching of problem-solving in line with EEF guidance (point 3, solving problems). We will look at how to make problem-solving accessible for all children; we will consider the use of visual representations and worked examples to help children understand the deep structure of problems; participants will develop techniques for improving children’s meta-cognition and self-regulation when problem-solving. There will also be a focus on oracy, developing language that enables children to describe the process of problem-solving.

The project is comprised of four 2½ hour online sessions. Every session will be attended by the maths leader and one other teacher, ideally with the two participants teaching in different phases of the school. Each session will be interactive, with participants actively involved in discussions, task design and sharing outcomes.

Gap tasks will be set between each session. As an outcome from this project, each school will create their own policy for developing the teaching of problem-solving. Participants will plan and deliver CPD within their schools. Sessions will take place half-termly.

What are the specific intended outcomes of this Work Group?

Professional learning

For participants: to understand how to break down the process of problem-solving into sub-steps in line with the principles for Teaching for Mastery. To develop the ability to adapt mathematical challenges to provide opportunities for children to work at greater depth within each objective. To support children to acquire the language that will support effective problem-solving.

For schools: to develop the teaching of problem-solving in line with EEF research guidance.

Teaching and/or leadership practice

For participants: To engage in subject-specific research relating to problem-solving, including EEF guidance and cognitive load theory, and consider the implications when planning problem-solving within a unit of work.

For schools: to promote problem-solving, building rich tasks within sequences of lessons in a way that is appropriate to the school. For participants to develop their capacity to implement change within their schools, including effective processes for supporting colleagues.

Whole school/ departmental policies and approaches

For schools: to develop a collective approach to the development of problem-solving skills, planning opportunities for problem-solving within lessons and sequences of lessons and developing oracy in problem-solving.

Pupil achievement, attitudes, participation or experience

Shorter term…

For all children to be able to access different problem-solving tasks, whilst opportunities are provided for children to work at greater depth within each curriculum area. To develop the quality of oracy through effective modelling, enabling all children to explain their thinking. For children to develop meta-cognitive skills, being able to make connections between different problem-solving tasks and self-regulate. For more of the maths curriculum to be explored through problem-solving.

Leading to…

Children’s attainment in reasoning and problem-solving to be improved. For an improvement in learning behaviours within lessons, specifically children’s ability to self-regulate and reflect on their learning within lessons.