Primary Teaching for Mastery

How can schools get involved with teaching for mastery?

(click/tap here to view a larger version with more detail of the journey on the NCETM website)


There are potentially two entry points into the Primary Teaching for Mastery Programme, the point at which a school should enter depends upon its needs.

Mastery Readiness is an optional preparatory phase for schools not yet ready to join the main development phase. Schools are supported by their Maths Hub's Mastery Readiness Lead to strengthen five key areas, development of which leads to the strong foundations needed to maximise the impact of participation in the Teaching for Mastery Development Work Group. The five key areas are:

  • Vision and culture underpinning maths learning
  • Mathematical mindsets
  • Subject expertise
  • School Systems
  • Arithmetical proficiency


Teaching for Mastery Development Work Group is the main development phase that all schools involved in the Teaching for Mastery Programme complete. These Work Groups are sometimes referred to as TRGs, because they feature some aspect of Teacher Research Groups.

  • Each Work Group is led by a Mastery Specialist
  • Two teachers from each of six or seven schools meet every half-term as a group. The meetings involve shared lesson observations and discussion.
  • Each school gets a termly bespoke support visit by the Mastery Specialist.
  • The group keep in contact and share experiences in between their meetings, creating a whole year of collaborative professional development.
  • Funding is available to support teacher release.


What happens after the development phase?


A Teaching for Mastery Embedding Work Group is the first consolidation phase where schools, more independently, build on previous phase. After the main development phase, schools stay in their Work Groups as they begin to embed classroom and school systems. And then ... A Teaching for Mastery Sustaining Work Group is a further on going consolidation phase which offers continuous participation to sustain, improve and refine whole school teaching for mastery approaches More information about the Primary Teaching for Mastery Programme and its impact can be found in the NCETM’s Primary Teaching for Mastery progress report published in July 2019.


What local Headteachers have to say about the Programme


In these four short videos, our Headteacher advocates talk about their sustained relationship with East Midlands South Maths Hub.  Each Headteacher advocate reflects on their school’s ongoing engagement with the Primary Teaching for Mastery programme through the Sustaining Work Groups. 

Our Headteacher advocates discuss how this model of school development enables fidelity and consistency to mastery principles, with Teaching for Mastery providing a framework for improvement – beyond any one scheme of work – to positively impact all pupils.

As a facilitated opportunity to continually reflect on – and refine – practice with other schools and colleagues, the Headteacher advocates consider how the Sustaining Work Groups provide support and momentum across their different settings and contexts to promote sustainable change to systems, practices and cultures.

Robert Prior, the headteacher at Broom Leys Primary School, talks about the journey of continual improvement through engagement and reflection. 
Jan Knox, CEO of The Vines Academy Trust, talks about professional development leading consistency and improvement. 


Chloe Neild, the headteacher at Stanwick Primary Academy, talks about pupil impact through fidelity to mastery.


Sarah Bishop, executive headteacher of Great Bowden Academy and Ridgeway Primary Academy, talks about generating and refining a mathematics vision and culture.




What else do I need to know about teaching for mastery?


If you are interested in the research behind teaching for mastery, there are a number of research papers available in the NCETM’s website page of Supporting Research, Evidence and Argument. The NCETM provides a wide range of mastery resources including assessment materials, professional development materials, calculation guidance and marking guidance.


How can I participate in a 2024/25 Teaching for Mastery Work Group?


Follow the relevant link below for more information and to apply