Cheshire & Wirral Maths Hub

What is a Work Group?

The Maths Hub network runs a series of nationally co-ordinated professional development projects for anyone involved in the teaching of maths. The emphasis is on collaborative, exploratory, evidence-based professional development and research, continuing through the whole year for substantial professional and systemic change: these are not one-off courses.

The projects are delivered through locally based Work Groups led by an expert, in which participants contribute to and learn from the national project. The Work Group is the model of professional and school development used in most Maths Hub projects. The main premise behind this approach is that, for any professional development to have an impact, it is what the teacher does in between sessions that makes the difference. Bearing this in mind, a Work Group is:

  • comprised of a group of schools who work on something together, normally over large part of a school year, typically with one or two teachers from each school acting as lead participants
  • led by a teacher or former teacher, expert in the area of maths education in question and in leading teacher professional development
  • normally part of a national collaborative project, which supports the Work Group Leads and seeks to ensure lessons are learned from around the country.

When taking part, schools in every Work Group:

  • work towards outcomes linked to teachers’ professional learning, their practice development, the learning of the pupils they teacher and new approaches and policies in maths teaching across their school or department
  • maintain a focus on the classroom, often planning, observing and refining lessons together
  • evaluate the outcomes of the Work Group’s activity, with collated findings being fed back into the national picture and used to inform future work.

In some teaching for mastery projects, the Work Group has also been referred to as a Teacher Research Group (TRG). The characteristics of a TRG are exactly the same as a Work Group.

While the majority of projects are offered to any teachers, teaching assistants and practitioners who wish to join, there are some which are only in certain geographical locations, which require previous participation in a project, or which do not have open recruitment.