Mastery Explained

Evidence, exemplification and illustration to explain the mastery approach

Mastering maths means pupils 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 pupils the best chances of mastering maths.

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.

Evidence, exemplification and illustration

What is mastery? A summary for school leaders

Discover what teaching for mastery means, and the professional development available so your school can begin its mastery journey.

Five Big Ideas in Teaching for Mastery

Effective teaching for mastery is underpinned by five big ideas. This webpage provides a diagram and an overview of them.

The Essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery - June 2016

This one page paper describes the essential elements of maths teaching for mastery in the primary school context.

Progress report on teaching for mastery in primary schools - July 2019

This 16-page document reflects the widespread positive impact of the programme, but also identifies areas where challenges still exist.

Secondary Mathematics Teaching for Mastery: Some themes and key principles - March 2021

Mastery in the secondary school context is explained in more detail in this short paper.

A video overview on teaching for mastery at primary - December 2015

Our Director for Primary Debbie Morgan addresses an audience of teachers and heads. She explains some of the key principles of teaching for mastery.

Mastery approaches to mathematics and the new National Curriculum - October 2014

This paper outlines our early thinking about teaching for mastery.

The relationship between teaching for mastery and ‘ability grouping’ - October 2018

We published our comments on how secondary schools organise their maths classes in this paper.

Primary teaching for mastery workshop video - March 2016

This video shows a teaching for mastery workshop. It was attended by teachers and heads from Cheshire.

Charlie’s Angles

In his blog, our Director Charlie Stripp writes about aspects of teaching for mastery in both the primary and secondary phases.


High quality textbooks can support teaching for mastery

Mastery research

Read more research and evidence about mastery on our mastery research page.

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