Secondary Mastery

Mathematics Teaching for Mastery rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths’. All students are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at mathematics they can succeed and that making mistakes is to be seen not as a failure but as a valuable opportunity for new learning.

NCETM and Maths Hubs – Teaching for Mastery in Secondary Schools

Mastery is achieved through developing procedural fluency and conceptual understanding in tandem, since each supports the other. Intelligent practice aims to develop students’ conceptual understanding and encourage reasoning and mathematical thinking, as well as reinforcing their procedural fluency.

Teachers use well-crafted examples and exercises which, through careful use of variation (including what to keep the same) focuses students’ attention on the key learning point. Examples of key mathematical ideas and concepts (including models, images and diagrams) which emphasise ‘what it is’ (both standard and non standard examples) and ‘what it is not’.

Significant time is spent developing a deep understanding of the key ideas and concepts that are needed to underpin future learning. The structures and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, which helps to ensure that students’ learning is sustainable over time. Key facts such as number facts (including multiplication tables), formulae and relevant theorems, as well as key algebraic techniques, are learnt and practised regularly in order to avoid cognitive overload in the working memory. This helps students to focus on new ideas and concepts.

See The 5 Big Ideas of Teaching for Mastery here