Elements of Teaching for Mastery
Elements of Teaching for Mastery

Teaching for Mastery in Mathematics is high in the education agenda at present. 


Mastery of mathematics is something that we want pupils —all pupils— to acquire, or rather to continue acquiring throughout their school lives, and beyond. Teaching for mastery is already well advanced in many schools, and it forms a key part of work within the Maths Hubs Programme.


NCETM Essence of Teaching for Mastery - A document which describes the 'essence' of teaching for mastery in mathematics.


Some of the resources here are just one element of a sustained professional development process. This involved participation over a period of time by a specific group of teachers together with research and trialling of examples. Resources are shared as is and are offered as materials teachers might want to work with in their own professional development activities.


Self Evaluation

Schools may want to begin their journey to teaching for mastery with the self evaluations documents below to reflect on their current practice:
Primary Teaching for Mastery Self Evaluation - Document (based on the work by www.glowmathshub.com)
Secondary Teaching for Mastery Self Evaluation - Document (based on the work by www.booleanmathshub.org.uk)


For more details into teaching for mastery see below.

What is new!

Improving Maths at KS2 & 3 - EEF Report

Guest Blog - Blog post by Prof J Hodgen on Teaching for Mastery and the EEF Report "Improving Maths at KS2 & 3"

Variation and Mathematical Structure - A paper for the ATM by Anne Watson and John Mason on Variation Theory.

NCETM Spines - Aimed to help teachers strengthen their subject knowledge, as well as their understanding of the order of learning steps required to give pupils the best chance of building deep and secure mathematical understanding. 

NCETM Secondary Mastery Assessment Materials - Designed to help secondary teachers assess the degree to which pupils have mastered concepts within the maths curriculum.

Mastery Shorts - A series of video clips by NCETM where Secondary Mastery Specialists talk about elements of teaching for mastery.

Updated Schemes for 2017-18 on TES - Freely available and updated schemes from White Rose Maths

Manipulatives in Secondary - An NCETM case study about using place value counters in Secondary.

Teaching for Mastery Document - A document by Annette Durkin from Whitehill Primary School about teaching for mastery in her school and how to develop deep understanding.


Principles & Beliefs

In this section we outline the principles and beliefs around Teaching for Mastery in Mathematics.

We look at what schools should be developing.

Curriculum Design

Considerable time is spent on securing fundamental skills and knowledge in the early stages.

Lesson Design

Lessons are carefully designed and structured to develop the necessary small conceptual steps for mastery.
Examples are chosen carefully to highlight the important conceptual ideas.

Classroom Practice

Use of concrete, pictorial and abstract (CPA) representations are provided and pupils are encouraged to connect and see relations between these different representations.


It is important for pupils to develop their procedural fluency alongside conceptual understanding and practice is an important part of achieving this.


The whole class are taught together ensuring that all pupils have access to the important mathematical ideas, skills and concepts.

Differentiation is achieved through questioning and scaffolding rather than by offering different tasks.


Assessment values depth of learning, knowing 'why' as well as knowing 'that' and knowing 'how'.

The National Maths Hubs programme, funded by DfE and run by NCETM, brings together mathematics education professionals in a collaborative national network of 35 hubs, each locally led by an outstanding school or college. 


It is a new way of harnessing all maths leadership and expertise within an area, to develop and spread excellent practice, for the benefit of all pupils and students.

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