Mastering Number

The Mastering Number Programme for Reception and Key Stage 1

Recruitment for Mastering Number in 2022/23 is now live!

If you are ready to apply now, sign up here!

In 2021/22, all Maths Hubs will organise communities of schools following the Mastering Number Programme. This programme will develop solid number sense, including fluency and flexibility with number facts, which will have a lasting impact on future learning for all children. The programme will also involve high-quality professional development for teachers.

Each Maths Hub is now accepting applications from schools to join the Work Groups for this programme in 2022/23. 

A school’s participation involves teachers from each of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (in one-form entry schools), the maths subject lead, and the headteacher. In small schools, there may be just one or two participating class teachers. In larger, multi-form schools, it is expected that lead teachers support colleagues in Reception and KS1 to adopt the same approach in their classes, to ensure consistency across the school.


Since 2014, the NCETM and Maths Hubs have been working together to develop approaches to teaching for mastery within primary maths. Thousands of schools have benefited. The Mastering Number Programme is wholly consistent with teaching for mastery.

For schools in the Mastering Number Programme, children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will have a daily teacher-led session of 10 to 15 minutes, designed to ensure that pupils develop fluency with, and understanding of number that is crucial to future success in maths and academic progress more generally.

The central programme

This core professional development programme will be delivered by an experienced team from the NCETM, led by the NCETM’s Director of Primary Mathematics, Debbie Morgan. It involves the lead teachers, maths subject lead and headteacher engaging in a range of synchronous and asynchronous online professional development, including three live sessions, across the academic year.

Teachers will be expected to deliver a daily session of 10 to 15 minutes in addition to their daily maths lesson, which may be a little shorter as a result. Resources, including lesson plans and visual resources, will be provided. 

Central to the programme will be a small, abacus-like piece of equipment called a rekenrek. We encourage Watch Debbie Morgan demonstrate the rekenrek below.

In 2022/23 schools will need to independently purchase their own rekenreks for the school or use free rekenreks online.  

Local Work Groups

Each Work Group consists of up to 40 schools and will be led by a professional experienced in early maths and in leading professional development in their Maths Hub area. During the year, teachers in the Work Group will work together to share experiences and reflect on the impact of the programme on their pupils and on themselves as teachers. The Work Group Lead will facilitate and steer regular discussion among participants in a dedicated online community. This ongoing cross-fertilisation of experiences, ideas and successes will create a vibrant and sustained professional learning experience for all those taking part. It will also significantly benefit pupils in the participating schools.

Benefits for participating schools

Participating in the Work Group will provide the following benefits to participant schools:

  • Your pupils will be able to clearly communicate their mathematical ideas
  • You will develop a secure understanding of how to build firm mathematical foundations
  • You will work to develop teaching strategies focused on developing fluency in calculation and number sense for all children
  • You will develop understanding and use of appropriate manipulatives to support your teaching of mathematical structures
  • The programme is fully funded by the Maths Hubs Programme, so is free to participating schools.