Secondary Teaching for Mastery Development Work Groups

Two teachers from your school will become ‘Mastery Advocates’ within their own departments and will form part of a two school Work Group. They will work closely with a Secondary Mastery Specialist to understand the principles and practices associated with teaching for mastery and will begin to work with teachers within their own departments to embed these principles and practices. Work will initially begin in Key Stage 3, but it is intended that this will extend to Key Stage 4, certainly in the longer term

Work will be bespoke for each department, tailored to the needs of the teachers and their own stages of development, but is likely to include:

  • Mastery Specialists leading professional development sessions with the four Mastery Advocates (2 from each school) to enable them to understand the principles and practices associated with teaching for mastery
  • Mastery Specialists supporting the Advocates to enable them to run professional development sessions for their department colleagues; this could include shared planning (and possibly co-leading) of sessions, with the intention that the Advocates take the leading role in working with their departments
  • Advocates observing the secondary Mastery Specialist in the Specialist’s own school
  • The Mastery Specialist observing and giving feedback to Advocates – this might be of, and following, a lesson, a professional development session, a departmental meeting or a planning meeting
  • Joint planning of individual lessons, sequences of lessons or longer units of work
  • Mastery Specialists working alongside Advocates to support other departmental members, as appropriate
  • Mastery Specialists working alongside Advocates to develop schemes of work and other departmental systems and structures to allow for a full teaching for mastery approach.


One of the Mastery Advocates from each school should be an experienced teacher with substantial responsibility in the department, and the drive and authority to lead change.  This could be the Head of Department or Second in Department, the Key Stage 3 Lead or someone with a similar role.

The other Mastery Advocate from each school should have an interest in leading departmental developments and ideally would have substantial teaching experience, but in some circumstances could be a very keen, recently qualified teacher or a very committed non-specialist teacher.

what are the benefits for participating schools?

The Work Groups provide an opportunity for your school to engage in high-quality, sustained, collaborative professional development and participate in an important national project. The aim of these groups is to support participating teachers in developing teaching for mastery in their own classroom and across their department and to support the setting up of Teacher Research Groups (TRGs) in the participant schools. (Teacher Research Groups will comprise several or all members of the mathematics department and will typically explore aspects of pedagogy to determine what works well for them). As this Work Group is still in a development phase, it will also be important to learn lessons about the design and planning of TRG activities so that the processes can be refined for future use.

what are the expectations of participating schools and teachers?

Schools that wish to participate in the Work Group must commit to the following:

  • The Work Group teachers will both be released to attend a minimum of four separate half-day meetings during the year
  • The Work Group teachers will be released to participate in in-school meetings and development activities with the Mastery Specialist. The timings of these will be agreed locally and will amount to approximately four to six days between the two teachers during the academic year
  • The Work Group teachers will engage in certain tasks (as planned and negotiated with the specialist) to support their ongoing professional development between each of the meetings
  • The school’s senior leadership will fully support the Head of Department and Work Group teachers to undertake these development tasks
  • The Work Group teachers will contribute to the final reporting and evaluation of the Work Group. (Note: Feedback and comments, quoted from discussions and lesson observations, and data, qualitative or quantitative, will be anonymised before inclusion).

what are the costs for participation?

There is no fee or charge to participating schools to take part in this Work Group. The Maths Hub meets the cost of running the Work Group. Each department will receive £2000 to enable the Mastery Advocates to work with the Secondary Mastery Specialist and thus enable them to work within their own department.


Any state-funded secondary school with an interest in developing mathematics teaching for mastery can apply. The school should identify two teachers (Mastery Advocates) who will be best placed to innovate in their own classroom and to lead developmental work across the department.

COVID-19 Recovery

The ongoing impact of the corona virus outbreak and knock on effects on schools life remain uncertain. So, all Maths Hubs work will adapt to changing realities. There’s likely to be more live online collaboration, for example. In addition Work Groups content will address both schools recovery from corona virus related disruption and the central maths subject matter of each project.

how to apply

For more information please contact