Maths mastery resource: Your free guide to understanding mastery in primary Maths lessons

By David Leighton 

Your Maths mastery resource: a step by step guide. This free guide to Mastery in Maths is an essential part of any primary teacher's toolkit. From variation to the concrete, pictorial, abstract method, it has all you need to understand what mastery means and how to teach lessons for mastery from Year 1 to Year 6.

If your primary school is considering mastery teaching in Maths but is unsure where to start, don’t worry - you’re not the only one.

Until recently, teaching children to ‘follow a process’ had been at the core of Maths education. Explaining how or why something happened became merely an afterthought.

As long as a child got the answer correct, their comprehension of the method was less important.

However, by not teaching children conceptually, we left them incapable of making the necessary links required to problem solve (an increasing priority in the new Maths curriculum).

More importantly, it denied children the opportunity to truly enjoy and engage with mathematics – as it became merely a memory test for many of them.

With the 2014 new curriculum, this began to change. Increasingly children are required to reason, problem solve, and discuss methods. This is where teaching for mastery shines, which is partly why so many schools have begun to make the switch.

Maths mastery resource for your toolkit

As such, to help schools understand and implement Maths mastery pedagogy, we’ve created a new free resource: the Ultimate Guide to Maths Mastery

It gives you the inside scoop on why the approach is effective, and how it can transform Maths teaching and learning across your school.

Free Download:

The Ultimate Guide to Maths Mastery

Your step by step guide to becoming a mastery expert

Who is the free mastery resource most suitable for?

If you’re unsure about beginning a mastery path or not yet persuaded by the mastery approach to maths, you can see the key aspects of teaching the method and decide for yourself. 

If your school has received government funded training and support and have considering implementing mastery, but are unsure where to start, this guide is perfect for you. It takes you through it from the ground up, from mixed ability setting to lesson planning, to using bar models and journals in your classroom. 

Finally, if you’re a school that has already implemented the approach, this guide is the perfect health check for your pedagogy! 

Why choose mastery?

Our Guide to Mastery in Mathematics, lists these three key reasons to invest in mastery:

1. Maths mastery: an investment in your staff

Investing in mastery is an investment in your staff. The training staff receive to implement the approach will improve their teaching practice and, by extent, the quality of teaching in your school.

There is a degree of pedagogical expertise needed to make mastery work in any school. Investing in this means investing in staff CPD, which will inevitably enhance subject knowledge.

There are many organisations that offer training such as NCETM or the Mathematics Association. Providing staff with the necessary training not only ensures teachers have the skillset to teach mastery but, crucially, it shows you trust that they can. 

Having a team of Maths teachers you can trust, who are confident in their ability to teach using mastery techniques means you have a team who will doubtless champion a shift towards embedding the approach across your school. These passionate teachers will doubtless help disseminate the teaching techniques throughout your staff.

2. Mastery creates conceptual understanding

Teaching concepts alongside procedural algorithms is at the core of mastery. Notably, it arms children with a variety of strategies to tackle problems logically and independently, using what they already know.

Using mastery techniques in this way helps break the cycle of rote learning in mathematics. It provides children with the opportunity to grasp ‘real’ Maths, empowering them with problem solving skills and – crucially – a sense of achievement.

3. Mastery - Maths in small steps

Small increments of learning are fundamental to this approach. As is “over-teaching” core concepts such as number and place value and the four operations.

Due to this, the initial progress of children taught this way may seem less dramatic when compared to traditional Maths teaching.

However, this simply because this style of incremental learning ensures children have a thorough conceptual understanding of the Maths, so that no gaps in that area remain.

This avoids instances where the class teacher tries to move on to a new concept, only to discover the class is simply not ready. The “jump” is too large. By taking smaller steps through learning, Mastery approaches lead to deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, as children are given ample time to internalise their Maths learning.

By allowing children real time to reflect and provide ample feedback, the approach is revolutionising Maths learning across the UK. So, to take the next step for your school and download the Ultimate Guide to Maths Mastery. We hope you find it useful!

What next if you need more primary Maths support in your school?

If you're looking for Maths specialist support in your primary school, we're offering a free trial of our 1-to-1 Maths tuition for your pupils. They'll work online with their own Maths specialist tutor on a lesson selected by the class teacher. We think your pupils will love it, but we know you'll want to see it in practice before making any decisions.

Further reading

How to teach the bar model method to ace arithmetic and word problems in KS1 & KS2 Maths

Using bar modelling techniques to solve multi-step KS2 SATs problems

Mixed ability vs ability grouping in the primary school classroom: Where do you stand?

UK primary schools to adopt Asian-style Maths. What does this mean for your classroom?

Free resource: The Ultimate Guide to Maths Mastery

Free resource: SLT Guide to Choosing Your Maths Scheme of Work

Finally, if you want to get even more insight into Mastery, you can't do much better than these blogs from Mark McCourt, founder of La Salle Education

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