Sir Peter Williams, in his 2008 report Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools, emphasised the need for a combination of improved subject knowledge and pedagogical skills in order to promote effective learning of mathematics. The Mathematics Specialist Teacher (MaST) Programme has been designed to address this need for an increase in the number of primary school teachers, the Mathematics Specialists, who can implement improvements in the teaching and learning of mathematics for all children in their school.
The Mathematics Specialist Teacher (MaST) programme is a two-year Masters-level course, and the first cohort of over 1600 teachers began the programme in January 2010. The programme supports participating teachers in extending their knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematics and related pedagogy, including a deep knowledge of the progression in mathematics within the Early Years Foundation Stage and Primary curriculum, and into Key Stage 3. It draws upon a wide repertoire of teaching approaches and recognises how these support and direct children’s learning of mathematics. Participants develop their own practice through study, analysis and research, and are also supported in acquiring the collaborative, practice-transfer skills to support other colleagues.
On successful completion of the second year, teachers who have participated in the programme are accredited as a Mathematics Specialist Teacher by the providing HEI along with 60 CAT points that can be used towards further M-Level study.
The longer-term vision is that this group of highly skilled teachers will drive the development of mathematics in a local context, making the subject more attractive to children, colleagues and parents. These local hubs of influence will lead to improvements nationally with more positive attitudes, higher expectations and higher standards in mathematics for all.