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Maths Mastery

Teaching maths for mastery is a transformational approach to maths teaching which stems from high performing Asian nations such as Singapore. When taught to master maths, children develop their mathematical fluency without resorting to rote learning and are able to solve non-routine maths problems without having to memorise procedures.

Teaching for Mastery

Teaching for Mastery is underpinned by the belief that all children can succeed with mathematics if they work hard. Teaching is interactive and procedural fluency and   conceptual understanding is  developed in tandem. The approach fits well with our growth mindset philosophy.         

 Ms Jenny Stratton, our deputy head, is a NCETM Mastery Specialist Teacher and influences maths teaching and learning across Sussex in her role as Deputy Maths Hub Lead for Mastery for the Sussex Maths Hub.

Our wider team are involved in research and development projects on fluency, depth and best practice in the Early Years. 


    CLICK HERE to learn more about our work in Maths Mastery and our leading role in the Sussex Maths Hub.




THE Whole class moves through content at the same pace

When teaching maths for mastery, the whole class moves through topics at broadly the same pace. Each topic is studied in depth and the teacher works  to ensure that children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.

THERE IS Time to think deeply about the maths

Students are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. This leads to greater progress because it ensures that students are secure in their understanding  once they’ve been covered in depth with plenty of opportunities for reasoning and problem solving. 


IT BUILDs self-confidence in learners

Teaching maths for mastery offers all pupils access to the full maths curriculum. This inclusive approach, and its emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience in pupils.

IT DifferentiatES through depth rather than acceleration

Though the whole class goes through the same content at the same pace, there is still plenty of opportunity for differentiation. Those pupils who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Others may be provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.

IT FORMs THE Basis for the National Curriculum For Maths

Teaching maths for mastery is a key driver reflected in the 2014 English national curriculum for mathematics. The NCETM, Department for Education and OFSTED endorse this evidence-based approach which is a key part of the work within the Maths Hubs Programme, which staff at Westdene are proud to play an instrumental part in.


What the CHildren say about maths...

What does Teaching for Mastery look like at Westdene now…

We welcomed two teachers from Shanghai to Westdene in January 2017 as part of this project and this enabled our teachers and some of our pupils to experience this approach first hand.  All staff at Westdene have received training and we are committed to developing Teaching for Mastery in Maths across the school.

  • Children are taught in mixed attainment groups with strategic use of fluid and focused group work for teaching and learning particular concepts – as needed. Classes are kept closer together, working on similar concepts.
  • We are working to reduce differences in attainment for our struggling learners whilst at the same time offering rich mathematical opportunities for all to acquire a greater depth of understanding.

Challenge is provided in every lesson for all children and ‘rapid graspers’ by encouraging them to think more deeply about the mathematical concepts. They are offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. 

Additional support may be given in the following ways: further use of equipment (to expose the structure of the maths), careful directed questioning, additional time or activities to consolidate understanding. These vary according to the needs of each child and may take place outside of the mathematics lesson. We are working towards a model of same day/ next day intervention to enable all children to ‘keep up not catch up’. Training for teaching assistants to support this approach has begun and we continue to invest in high quality professional development for all of our staff.



  • Fluency –frequent additional practice is encouraged to support children’s fluency in number bonds, mental calculation strategies, multiplication and division facts and the application of these to larger numbers and decimals through explicit teaching and use of place value.
  • Problem Solving – Children are given opportunities to solve problems that enable them to use and apply the skills they have been taught.
  • Reasoning – Reasoning forms a key part of every mathematics session at Westdene. Key questions are planned into every session and children are given lots of opportunities to explain their thinking using full sentences and the correct mathematical vocabulary. Teacher/ pupil interaction explores in detail how answers were obtained, why the method/ strategy worked and what might be the most efficient method/strategy. Teachers are exploring the use of ‘stem’ sentences which the whole class say and repeat to support the language development of mathematical reasoning. Journal entries also support this.
  • Independent learning – Children across the school from Year 1 upwards have all been provided with MyMaths on-line accounts. Teachers set homework using this on-line resource and pupils can access lessons and content that supports their understanding and progress. We also have a VLE and use Google Classroom to make independent tasks interactive. 

  • Engaging parents – parent workshops and webinars are regularly offered to support parents and carers in supporting their children with mathematics.
  • Governor support and challenge – the Governing Body has all received training and have regular updates on the impact of the approaches outlined with the opportunity to ask further questions. The link maths governor has visited lessons to see our fluency and maths sessions in action.
  • Assessment – teachers record formative assessment against the national curriculum objectives and use an electronic tracking and assessment system called O track. Pupils are more formally assessed termly to provide summative tracking data. Both assessments complement one another and enable teachers to quickly identify underachievement and any gaps in knowledge and understanding that can then be swiftly addressed through the planning and teaching cycle. In this way the teaching programme can be adjusted to enable bespoke provision for each cohort, group or individual as needed.
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