Teaching for Mastery

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The National Maths Hubs Programme, led by the NCETM, has developed a ‘Teaching for Mastery’ approach, drawing on international research, including that from Shanghai.

But what is Teaching for Mastery? 

The essential idea behind mastery is that all children need a deep understanding of the mathematics they are learning so that:

- future mathematical learning is built on solid foundations which do not need to be re-taught;

- there is no need for separate catch-up programmes due to some children falling behind;

- children who, under other teaching approaches, can often fall a long way behind, are better able to keep up with their peers, so that gaps in attainment are narrowed whilst the attainment of all is raised. 

Underpinning the mastery approach is the belief that all children can achieve in and enjoy mathematics. Mastering mathematics means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.

The term ‘Teaching for Mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give all pupils the best chances of mastering maths. 

Central to developing Teaching for Mastery are the Five Big Ideas, drawn from research evidence. The diagram below binds the five ideas together and shares a short description of each.

 5 Big Ideas.jpg

(click here for a larger image)


Lots more information is available on the NCETM website:


Should you require any further information please contact our Teaching for Mastery Administrator, Geraldine Pearce (booleanmathshub@clf.cabot.ac.uk).