Teaching for Mastery

Mastering maths means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.

The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organization that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths.

Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.

The Teaching for Mastery Programme comprises a range of projects and activities at the heart of all Maths Hubs’ work.

For more detail on teaching for mastery, including case studies, lesson videos and professional development materials, see the NCETM mastery pages

Five Big Ideas in Teaching for Mastery

A central component in the NCETM/Maths Hubs programmes to develop Mastery Specialists has been discussion of Five Big Ideas, drawn from research evidence, underpinning teaching for mastery. This is the diagram used to help bind these ideas together:

Primary Teaching for Mastery

Primary Mastery Readiness Programme

Since 2014, the NCETM/Maths Hub Teaching for Mastery Programme has trained hundreds of primary teachers as Mastery Specialist(s). Thousands of schools have been helped by these specialists to start introducing mastery approaches in their maths lessons. The programme is set to continue for several more years.  But not all schools, for a variety of reasons, are able to move into a formal development programme in one leap. That is why the Mastery Readiness Programme has been developed: collaborative training and bespoke support, available in 202021, which aims to provide a stepping stone to take schools into the ‘main’ Teaching for Mastery Programme in 2021/22

Primary Development Work Group Programme

Since 2014, The NCETM and Maths Hubs have been working together to develop approaches to teaching for mastery within primary mathematics. This has been partly informed by the teaching of mathematics in high performing South East Asian jurisdictions. In the last three years the NCETM and Maths Hubs recruited teachers to participate in a Mastery Specialist(s) development programme. Once trained, Mastery Specialist(s) work with other schools in teaching for mastery Work Group(s). Each Work Group will be led by one of the Maths Hub’s Mastery Specialist(s) and involve six or seven primary schools

Secondary Teaching for Mastery

Secondary Teaching for Mastery Work Group Programme

In 2020/21 all Maths Hubs are participating in a Network Collaborative Project developing secondary mathematics teaching for mastery. As part of this project, Secondary Mastery Specialist(s) in each hub area will be offering support to schools interested in developing teaching for mastery approaches in their own mathematics departments. Each specialist, who has completed the second year of a national programme, will work with two teachers from each participating maths department. The two teachers, known as ‘Mastery Advocates’, will be supported by the Mastery Specialist to lead teaching for mastery development with all staff in their own department.