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Teaching for Mastery in Maths: Opportunities for Secondary Schools

Created on 25 May 2018 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 May 2020 by ncetm_administrator

Heard about teaching for mastery? Interested in high quality professional development?

There are opportunities available for you and your department to get involved.

Whether you want to take a teaching for mastery approach in your own classroom and department, or introduce mastery in both your own school and beyond, we have a CPD opportunity for you. The NCETM and Maths Hubs are offering funded professional development activities, available from September 2020.

For these and other similar professional development opportunities, we’ll be recruiting at some point in spring 2020. To be notified when recruitment opens for 2020/21, please complete the expression of interest form on this page, and we will keep you updated.

Work Groups

Secondary maths teachers whose schools want to introduce and embed teaching for mastery can nominate two teachers (Mastery Advocates) to join a Work Group. You will be part of a locally-based group of teachers who meet regularly to develop professional knowledge and expertise, as well as receiving bespoke support.

In a Teaching for Mastery Work Group you will:

  • collaborate with colleagues from other local schools to share best practice
  • get individual school support and guidance from a local leader of maths education (LLME)
  • take away ideas to help your students become more confident mathematicians, ready to tackle GCSEs and A levels
  • introduce and embed teaching for mastery in your classroom and department

Mastery Advocates

The fully funded programme enables you and another teacher from your school to become ‘Mastery Advocates’. Initially you will be part of a Work Group for a year. You will also get in-school support from a Mastery Specialist. Beyond this, you will continue to work with your local Maths Hub and take part in a Work Group as you embed mastery across your department.

This opportunity is suitable for all maths teachers, from NQTs to Heads of Department. It requires the support of your headteacher/a member of SLT.

Learn more

Hear from teachers who have taken part in a Work Group.


Teachers who have been involved tell us more about the benefits of mastery for them and their students.

For me as a Mastery Specialist, it is rewarding to see the lessons students are now experiencing with teachers who are teaching for a deeper understanding.

“SLT and the leaders of my department have been completely supportive and trusting as I have introduced teaching for mastery in maths because they see the benefits it has for the students.

“I would say to senior leaders and headteachers whose maths departments are considering introducing teaching for mastery to go for it. When you hear the conversations students have in maths lessons, see their engagement and depth of understanding, and listen to them telling you about their experiences of learning maths, you will see why it is worth it.

Vicci Williamson, Maths teacher and Director of Research and Development, Hungerhill School, and Secondary Mastery Specialist, Yorkshire and the Humber Maths Hub

Martin: The open classroom experience with discussion before and after is an excellent model of professional development.

Rebecca: Seeing teaching for mastery in maths as part of an open classroom session was an informative and hands-on experience through which I gained knowledge of delivering differentiation and challenge through mastery.

Martin Willan, Second in Maths, Outwood Academy Easingwold, and Rebecca Smith, Lead teacher of maths, Kettlethorpe High School, both teachers involved in Work Groups

To anyone considering joining a Work Group, I could not recommend it enough. It is arguably the best continual professional development you can get.

"Participating teachers really appreciate the collaboration. Being able to discuss the theory, have time to implement it and then come back together to evaluate it, helps to embed it into our own practice. Being able to collaborate across schools is so valuable.

"Finding the time to begin with can be difficult but the long term benefits will outweigh this initial hurdle. Our students are more confident, articulate and engaged and the teachers in our department will now say that their planning time has actually reduced.

"Implementing teaching for mastery has been a huge success. The biggest difference in our department is the shift in culture of both our teachers and our students. Doing, discussing and engaging in mathematics has created a buzz in the classroom and in the office!

Megan Bailey, Maths Teacher i/c KS3 Maths, St Marylebone School, London, and Mastery Specialist, London Central and NW Maths Hub

It requires a bit of bravery to say actually, we’ve got to step away from old models and look at how we can facilitate this. A huge part of my role is to understand the context that schools are in and see how this fits into their lessons. I think the first thing is to get an understanding of what we mean by the term 'teaching for mastery', to remove the fear, to say 'teaching for mastery is this... and these are all the things you are already doing in your school

"I want teachers to gain an understanding of teaching for mastery and something they can go away and try...and pass their understanding on to their department.

Simon Petri, Secondary Mastery Specialist, working with Surrey Plus Maths Hub

We’re looking for anyone who is motivated, enthusiastic and has some capacity and is in a department who are open to making changes, but you don’t need to have done anything yet.

Frances Carr, Surrey Plus Maths Hub Lead, and a member of the national Maths Hub team coordinating the secondary school teaching for mastery project

Working with the Surrey Plus Mastery [Work Group] has given me the tools and confidence to develop mastery-style teaching in my own practice, as well as encouraging it throughout my department. The 'open lessons' provide inspiration by showing the strategies in real-life use. This allows for genuine developmental conversation afterwards, about the student responses as well as the teaching methods. My department are keen to keep collaborating in TRGs to share practice that develops deeper mathematical knowledge within our students.

Gabby Veglio, Head of Maths, The Kingston Academy, Surrey



Hear from a Mastery Specialist and Head of Maths in a school where teaching for mastery has been introduced in Years 7 and 8.

How to take part in a Work Group

Applications for this academic year are closed, but there will be further recruitment for places from September 2020. Get in touch with your local Maths Hub to find out more. If you are not sure of your local hub, find it on our map.

Want to share this information with your head of department or colleagues? Download and print or email our flyer which has details about both of the opportunities on this page.

The Mastery Specialist Programme

Teachers who want to become experts in teaching for mastery and work towards taking it beyond their own schools can train to become Mastery Specialists. This role involves receiving fully funded training from experts, developing expertise, and then supporting others.

Recruitment for Secondary Mastery Specialists is now open and closes on 8 June.

The programme

  • Year One: you attend three residential training events and concentrate on your own classroom teaching.
  • Year Two: you help spread mastery teaching approaches across your department.
  • Year Three: you support two other local schools along the same route. 

All the time, you keep in touch with counterparts across the country in online groups. You can share experiences and continue developmental conversations.

As part of the Mastery Specialist programme, you will also work to achieve NCETM PD Lead status.

Learn more

Hear from Mastery Specialist in our videos. Find out more about mastery in our case studies. And take a look at the Mastery Specialist programme in more detail in this diagram.

Want to share this information with your head of department or colleagues? Download and print or email our flyer which has details about both of the opportunities on this page.



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