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Mastery Specialists

Created on 12 July 2019 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 14 August 2019 by ncetm_administrator

Mastery Specialists

Mastery Specialists are classroom practitioners who develop expertise in the mastery approach to teaching maths. Through rigorous and interactive training, they become experts in introducing and embedding mastery. After first developing a mastery approach in their own classrooms, they go on to support colleagues in their own and other schools.

There are now hundreds of Mastery Specialists across the country, working with thousands of schools. To learn about what they do, select your phase below and discover more.

There are currently hundreds of Mastery Specialists supporting colleagues in their own schools and beyond to develop mastery approaches to maths teaching. Mastery Specialists are classroom-based practitioners who develop expertise in mastery and lead Work Groups to support other schools and teachers locally.

The Mastery Specialist Programme for primary teachers started in 2015/16. Each year around 140 primary teachers – four from each Maths Hub – complete a programme of professional development to become Mastery Specialists. In every subsequent year, each of these teachers leads a Teaching for Mastery Work Group. This involves working with participant teachers from six or seven primary schools within their Maths Hub area, so that these schools can start to introduce teaching for mastery themselves.

By the end of the 2019/20 school year, there will be 700 Primary Mastery Specialists established and operational. They will collectively have worked with more than 8,000 other primary schools, which represents around half of all primary schools in England.

Want to know more? Listen to a Mastery Specialist discuss her work in this podcast. Read more about Work Groups led by Mastery Specialists. 

If you are interested in becoming a Mastery Specialist, contact your local Maths Hub.

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

Want to become an expert in teaching for mastery and work towards taking it beyond your own school? Train to become a Secondary Mastery Specialist. In this role you will receive fully funded training from experts, develop your own expertise, and then support others.

The Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme began in 2016/17. It is currently smaller than the primary programme and more exploratory in nature, but the number of Secondary Mastery Specialists is growing all the time.

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 Specialists in our videos below. Find out more about mastery in our case studies. And take a look at the Mastery Specialist Programme in more detail in this diagram.

This video was produced in 2018/19. It describes the programme in more detail and lets you hear from teachers in some of the schools involved.


In the 2017 summer term, we asked some Mastery Specialists for examples of what was changing at their schools as a result of their participation in the programme. They told us about work both in their own classrooms, and with colleagues in maths departments. These short videos are the result. Each video is no more than three minutes long. You can also read the specialists' reflections in Issue 143 of our Secondary Magazine.

Productive struggle
Full sentences
Questioning own subject knowledge
Precise mathematical language
Sharing theory with colleagues
Discussing mastery with colleagues
Pictorial representations
Students articulating their thinking
Narrower focus per lesson
Multiple representations
Variation theory
Pace of learning
A narrower KS3 curriculum
Fine-tuning pupils' practice
Answer is only the beginning
Visualisation of maths




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