Teaching For Mastery

What is teaching for mastery?

Mastering maths means pupils of all ages 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 organisation 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 National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM) have identified The Five Big Ideas for teaching a mastery approach: 

  • Coherence
  • Variation
  • Fluency
  • Mathematical thinking
  • Representation and structure

This diagram shows a school’s journey towards mastery.

Debbie Morgan introduces Primary Teaching for Mastery

Find out more about Secondary Teaching for Mastery

Mastery Specialists

Primary and secondary Teachers who train as Mastery Specialists are given a year’s intensive training in the principles of teaching for mastery, underpinned by its Five Big Ideas, and in professional development leadership. In the following year, they further develop teaching for mastery in their own schools. And they share the approach with neighbouring schools by leading Teaching for Mastery Work Groups.

We are hoping to recruit more mastery specialists later in the academic year along with schools to take part in our Teaching for Mastery work groups in 2021/22.  Details will be posted here once available.  If you would like to register your interest or find out more about either of these programmes please contact mathshub@george-spencer.notts.sch.uk.

Mastery Materials

The NCETM have worked with classroom-based teachers within the Maths Hubs Network to produce a range of Mastery Materials which help teachers develop a mastery approach in their classrooms.

East Meets West Report

The report summary below from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham explores how the two East Midlands Mathematics Hubs are mediating teachers’ understanding of mathematics and mathematics education.  To do so the universities asked the following primary research question: How do the East Midlands Mathematics Hubs support teachers to develop the learning of mathematics through the two national priority projects – Singapore Textbook and Shanghai Teacher Exchange.

For more information about teaching for mastery, please click here for a summary of the key features.  You can find out more including case studies, lesson videos and teacher interviews, on the NCETM mastery pages.