Secondary Teaching for Mastery Development Work Groups (2020/21)

In 2020/21 all Maths Hubs are participating in a Network Collaborative Project developing secondary mathematics teaching for mastery. As part of this project, Secondary Mastery Specialists in each hub area will be offering support to schools interested in developing teaching for mastery approaches in their own mathematics departments. Each specialist, who has completed the second year of a national programme, will work with two teachers from each participating maths department. The two teachers, known as ‘Mastery Advocates’, will be supported by the specialist to lead teaching for mastery development with all staff in their own department.

 Maths Hubs are therefore now looking to recruit schools and their maths departments to participate in this exciting and innovative project as members of these Mastery Development Work Groups.

More information about secondary teaching for mastery Work Groups is available on the NCETM website


What is involved with being part of the Work Group?

Two teachers from each school will become ‘Mastery Advocates’ in their own departments and will join the Work Group. They will work closely with a Secondary Mastery Specialist to understand the principles and practices associated with teaching for mastery. They will begin to work in their own classrooms and then with teachers within their own departments to embed these principles and practices, with the support of the specialist. Work will initially begin in Key Stage 3, but it is intended that this will extend to Key Stage 4.

Work will be bespoke for each department, tailored to the needs of the teachers and their own stages of development, but is likely to include:

  • The Mastery Specialist leading professional development sessions with the Mastery Advocates (2 from each school) to enable them to understand the principles and practices associated with teaching for mastery
  • The specialist supporting the advocates to enable them to run professional development sessions for their department colleagues. This could include shared planning (and possibly co-leading) of sessions, but the intention is for the advocates to take the leading role in working with their departments
  • The advocates observing the specialist in the specialist’s own school
  • The specialist observing and giving feedback to the advocates in their own school. This might be related to: a lesson, a professional development session, a departmental meeting or a planning meeting
  • The specialist working alongside the advocates and other members of the department to jointly plan individual lessons, sequences of lessons or longer units of work
  • The specialist working alongside the advocates to support other departmental members as appropriate
  • The specialist working alongside the advocates to develop schemes of work and other departmental systems and structures to allow for a full teaching for mastery approach.


One of the Mastery Advocates from each school should be an experienced teacher with substantial responsibility in the department, and the drive and authority to lead change. This could be the head of department or second in department, the Key Stage 3 lead or someone with a similar role.

The other Mastery Advocate should have an interest in leading departmental developments and ideally would have substantial teaching experience, but in some circumstances could be a very keen, recently qualified teacher or a very committed non-specialist teacher.


What are the benefits for participating schools?

The Work Groups provide an opportunity for schools to engage in high-quality, sustained, collaborative professional development and participate in an important national project. The aim of these groups is to support participating teachers in developing teaching for mastery in their own classroom and across their department and to support the development of collaborative ways of working within the department. 


What are the expectations of participating schools and teachers?

Schools that wish to participate in the Work Group must commit to the following:

  • The Mastery Advocates will both be released to attend a minimum of four separate half-day meetings, or equivalent, during the year (November 2020 to July 2021), led by a specialist
  • The Mastery Advocates will be released to participate in in-school meetings and development activities with the specialist. The timings of these will be agreed locally and will amount to between four and six days between the two teachers during the academic year
  • The Mastery Advocates will engage in certain tasks (as planned and negotiated with the specialist) to support their ongoing professional development between each of the meetings
  • The school’s senior leadership will fully support the head of department and the Mastery Advocates to undertake these development tasks
  • The Mastery Advocates will contribute to the final reporting and evaluation of the Work Group. (Note: Feedback and comments, quoted from discussions and lesson observations, and data, qualitative or quantitative, will be anonymised before inclusion).


What are the longer-term opportunities and expectations?

Participation in this Work Group is the first part of a long-term development for schools, with funded opportunities and free support available via the Maths Hubs network in subsequent years. Schools initially participate in a Development Work Group and should then go on to work in an Embedding Work Group the following year and then join other local schools in a Sustaining Work Group. We believe that in a healthy education system, a balance of in-school development and external collaboration are necessary, and so Sustaining Work Groups offer a support mechanism to enable teachers to continue to exchange ideas and develop collaboratively. In the second year, there will be three days’ worth of in-school support from a Mastery Specialist alongside regular external meetings. In subsequent years, support is offered primarily through the external meetings, reflecting the changing balance.


What are the costs for participation?

There is no fee or charge to participating schools to take part in this Work Group. The Maths Hub meets the cost of running the Work Group. Each department will receive £2000 to enable the Mastery Advocates to work with the Secondary Mastery Specialist and thus enable them to work within their own department.


Who can apply?

Any state-funded secondary school with an interest in developing mathematics teaching for mastery can apply. The school should identify two teachers (Mastery Advocates) who will be best placed to innovate in their own classroom and to lead developmental work across the department.


How to apply

Schools interested in applying to be part of a Work Group in 2020/21 should complete the application form below and submit to by Monday 13th July 2020.


NCP20-13 Information and application 2020-21

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2020 Great North Maths Hub All Rights Reserved.