Making sense of mastery

Supporting your mastery journey

Since the Department for Education (DfE) announced their plans to support primary schools with implementing a teaching for mastery approach, mastery has become synonymous with maths teaching.

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) is working with maths experts across the country to develop a consistent understanding of the key principles behind maths mastery. At its core, a mastery approach rejects the idea that some children can’t do maths. It recognises that by nurturing positive attitudes and building confidence in mathematics, all children can achieve.

Concepts are built in small, logical steps and are explored through clear mathematical structures and representations. Children are taught together as a whole class and the focus is on depth - not acceleration - so that all children have a chance to embed learning. Teaching is supported by high-quality resources which present the flow of lessons coherently and provide opportunities for plenty of intelligent practice.

Why the mastery approach?

Teaching for mastery in maths is fundamental to the government’s education reforms and is reflected in the 2014 English national curriculum for mathematics. NCETM, DfE and OFSTED have all endorsed this evidence-based approach which is inspired by some of the leading performers in mathematics education (including Shanghai and Singapore).

The government holds high aspirations for primary mathematics in England, and wants to ensure children are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. South East Asian countries rank highly in international mathematics tests, so over the past few years the Maths Hubs have been working closely with partner schools from these high performing jurisdictions. This exchange programme has been incredibly successful and has provided opportunities for teachers to come together to share best practice.

Is funding available for mastery?

Yes! Schools involved with the Maths Hubs programme will benefit from the funding allocated to teacher development and training. In addition, there is direct funding available for schools participating in Teaching for Mastery Work Groups. Schools participating in these groups will receive up to £2000 match funding to invest in high-quality mastery resources. A brand new list of approved resources will be released by the DfE every year for schools to choose from.

Where can I access resources and training to help me teach for mastery?

There are a range of resources to help you teach for mastery. A variety of tools and materials can be accessed through the NCETM.
If you’re looking for a high-quality teaching resources and training for your school, Pearson’s Power Maths has been developed specifically to support schools with implementing a mastery curriculum.

Get a free copy of our Handy Little Guide to Maths Mastery

If you’ve found this blog post useful, you can access more mastery support on our Mastery Hub, and in our free Handy Little Guide to Maths Mastery. You can sign-up to receive mastery updates and articles while you’re there too, so you’ll be the first to know when new support and information is available.

Request The Handy Little Guide to Maths Mastery