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Teaching for Mastery

Discover what teaching for mastery means and how to get involved

What is Teaching for Mastery?

Mastering maths means students of all ages acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give students the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable students to move on to more advanced material.

Teaching for mastery is currently more widespread in primary schools than in secondary schools, but every year hundreds of secondary teachers and schools are taking part in professional development to enable them to deliver teaching for mastery to their students. Secondary schools are also increasingly finding that Year 6s are coming up from primary school having experienced teaching for mastery in maths.

The Five Big Ideas underpin teaching for mastery in both primary and secondary schools.

What is the Teaching for Mastery Programme?

The NCETM and Maths Hubs have been running the national Primary Teaching for Mastery Programme since 2015, and more recently secondary schools have also become involved with teaching for mastery as the Secondary Teaching for Mastery Programme expands. The programme is open to all state-funded schools in England.


Mastery Specialists spearhead the Teaching for Mastery Programme across the country. Teachers who train as Mastery Specialists are given a year’s intensive training in the principles of teaching for mastery, underpinned by its Five Big Ideas, and in professional development leadership. In the following year, they further develop teaching for mastery in their own schools. And they share the approach with neighbouring schools by leading Teaching for Mastery Work Groups.

The journey to Mastery with Abacus NW Maths Hub




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