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Teaching for Mastery in Maths: Opportunities for Primary Schools 2018-2019

Created on 10 April 2018 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 November 2018 by ncetm_administrator

Participating in a Maths Hub Primary Teaching for Mastery Work Group

During the 2018/19 school year, Maths Hubs across England are working with thousands of primary schools in a programme of professional development, designed to support schools in implementing a teaching for mastery approach to maths.

This CPD opportunity will be available again in 2019/20, with thousands more places in every part of England. Download this flyer for more details.

Below is information circulated in summer 2018 as part of the 2018/19 recruitment campaign. This all remains relevant for 2019/20.

Download video

What does the opportunity involve?

Two teachers from each participating school join a Work Group, consisting of six or seven local primary schools, and led by a trained primary Mastery Specialist.

Work Groups (sometimes known as Teacher Research Groups, or TRGs) meet regularly to plan, observe and discuss teaching for mastery. In between meetings the teachers will explore mastery approaches both in their own classrooms and across their school.

Support is also provided from a local classroom-based Mastery Specialist, who leads the group. This model of professional development, involving hands-on learning and peer-to-peer support, is evidence-based and designed to support substantial long-term change.

Find out more

Teachers tell us about what involvement has meant for them and their pupils:

Photo of Amy Benfield The biggest difference mastery has made in my classroom is children’s buzz for maths. They love it and want to learn. To any teacher or headteacher considering getting involved with a teaching for mastery Work Group, I would say: ‘do it!’ Even if your school is already in a good position for maths, it will bring your maths as a school to a whole new level.

Amy Benfield, Year 5 teacher at East Wichel Community Primary School in Swindon

Photo of Alana Mead Being involved in a Work Group, you feel much more involved in your own CPD. You are actually doing something, rather than being talked at. Going away, implementing something and then coming back and discussing how it worked is great. Schools working together is so powerful. We hear what another school has done successfully and think ‘Right, we will give that a try.’ Teachers involved really benefit from the time and freedom to spread the ideas of mastery throughout their school. Taking part is a commitment but it benefits the individual and the school, so I would definitely advise anyone to do it.

Alana Mead,Year 6 teacher at St Francis C of E Primary School in Swindon

Photo of Caroline Voaden and Daniel Booth-Howe Dan: We didn’t join a Work Group to pull us out of a hole, it was about making the next step towards outstanding maths practice. In our classrooms, you now see a whole class approach based on an understanding of where you want all children to go from and to.

“I want all the children to do well, and when I’ve got all of them doing really interesting things, it’s amazing. When those who are considered most able find themselves challenged, it’s going right. When those who previously felt uncomfortable doing maths feel comfortable, that is a great feeling for a teacher too. No child sees the end goal as something they can’t attain anymore. Given a chance, children all want to go for the hardest challenge. My job isn’t to stop that mentality, it is to support them to ensure that they succeed.

“They now have a much greater confidence with numbers, and a much deeper understanding of what the numbers are representing. There is much more active learning much earlier on in the lessons. There is greater use of manipulatives and children are making independent choice to use equipment, regardless of their ability. Children are encouraged to use what they feel is appropriate. Mastery is not a jump into the dark. It is based on solid pedagogy.

Caroline: Being part of a Work Group has really increased my confidence in teaching maths. I can now consider the end outcome, and the small steps that will get there. The TRG has enabled me to think about this from a child’s perspective, and take that approach to my planning.

Caroline Voaden, Year 3 teacher, and Daniel Booth-Howe, Year 6 teacher and Maths Lead, at Colebrook Junior School in Swindon

Photo of Juliet Rean and Deborah Lewis Juliet: There has been a sea change in the hierarchy in the classroom. The children who were seen as more able mathematicians, but who couldn’t verbalise their thinking, have found that mastery has helped them to explain their thinking. They are now thinking through the process, rather than just doing.

“Teaching for mastery has particularly impacted the girls. Previously girls were not attaining the higher levels in tests because they needed time to think whereas the boys saw getting a quick answer as a good thing. Now it’s not about being the first one to get the question right. Before, the boys were at the top, but the girls have overtaken them because they are now more confident at explaining. It has created a more rounded class.

Deborah: The children’s maths books look completely different. There is more drawing – bar models, area models. The books may appear messier, but they are full of workings and explanations.

Juliet Rean, Year 2 teacher and Maths Lead, and Deborah Lewis, Year 5 teacher, at Ramsbury Primary School in Marlborough, Wiltshire

Photo of Calum Boothroyd As an NQT, it has been so useful for me to speak to other teachers at the TRG about how they teach maths. In an hour and a half this morning, I’ve already got so many ideas to take back. I feel like it has been a springboard for me. It gives me further insight and a variety of different ideas which I can take away. It has helped me develop my own subject knowledge too. I’ve now got more confidence and belief that I can lead on things.

Calum Boothroyd, Year 5 teacher, Swindon Academy’s Primary Phase


In-depth case studies of two Work Groups are available:

Watch this short video in which one primary head describes the success her school made of participating in a teaching for mastery Work Group

Get involved

Places will be available again for state-funded schools in England to become part of this programme from September 2019. Two teachers from each participant school will attend six half-day meetings during the school year, and lead teaching for mastery development in their own school.

There is no charge for participation in the programme and schools receive £1000 as a contribution to cover costs. They are also eligible to claim £2000 in match-funding to buy maths textbooks.

Download this flyer to learn how to register your interest in the 2019/20 programme, and this flyer to read more about the 2018/19 recruitment campaign.



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