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Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme

2018/19 Cohort 3 - Information and Application


Click here to download application form

Following the ongoing success of the first and second cohorts of the secondary Mastery Specialist programme, Maths Hubs, working in conjunction with the NCETM, are now seeking applications from secondary schools that wish to nominate ‘lead teachers’ to take part in an important three-year professional development programme leading to the designation of Secondary Mastery Specialist. Schools nominating teachers for this role would be committed to developing teaching for mastery in their own classrooms, their own mathematics department and, later on, facilitate and support teaching for mastery in a small number of other interested secondary schools within their Maths Hub area.


Since 2014, Maths Hubs and the NCETM have been working together to develop approaches to mathematics teaching for mastery, a pedagogical approach which aims to develop a deep and connected mathematical understanding for all learners, enabling them to better tackle mathematics questions in examinations, giving them a sound basis for future learning and preparing them for their future employment. Two cohorts of primary Mastery Specialists have completed a development programme and are now each leading Work Groups involving other primary schools; a third cohort are part-way through their development year. At secondary, 130 teachers are completing a second year of development ahead of beginning close work with other teachers, although many are already beginning outreach work. During the two years of development they have been exploring how a teaching for mastery approach can work in their own classrooms and in their own departments. A number of them have shared some of their reflections on how they have developed practices within their own schools in a series of short videos. In recent months the government has announced substantial funding to support the expansion of both primary and secondary teaching for mastery, a second cohort of secondary Mastery Specialists has begun and this is the start of the process for a third cohort to begin in September 2018.

The work in both primary and secondary has built upon the positive China-England exchange programmewhere teachers in this country have worked closely with Shanghai teachers and have offered a series of ‘showcase’ lessons for teachers to begin to find out more about the approaches.

What will participation in the programme involve?

Academic year 2018/19: Participating schools nominate a lead teacher to develop as the Mastery Specialist. In the initial stages of the programme, the teacher will attend three residential training events and develop their own skills of teaching for mastery with their own classes. In addition, the Mastery Specialist will spend some time working within the hub (meeting with Teaching for Mastery Lead, visiting primary and/or secondary schools implementing teaching for mastery etc. to broaden their own understanding of the work) and will be funded for planning and developmental work with their own department in the summer term. This amounts to 15 days’ worth of time, funded at £200 per day. In all £3000 will be paid to the secondary Mastery Specialist’s school to enable the specialist and members of their department to participate in the planning and development work carried out in the academic year 2018/9.

Academic year 2019/20: during this year, participants will continue to develop their own classroom practices and also enable their departmental colleagues to explore and implement teaching for mastery approaches. There will be a further 15 days funded at £200 per day to enable the participant to attend two further residentials, work within their own department, liaise with the hub’s Secondary Teaching for Mastery Lead and wider team, and to develop their own skills in leading professional development. This will involve some time (as part of the 15 days) building their PD leadership skills through the separate, NCETM Accredited PD Lead programme*, and as a result they will be well-placed to lead professional development within their own schools and beyond.

In the academic year 2020/21, the Mastery Specialists will have the opportunity to work with colleagues from two other schools, to enable them to each embed teaching for mastery approaches within their own departments. The funding is enhanced at this stage to take into account the PD lead role of the specialist.

This is a fantastic opportunity for participants and their schools to improve maths education through teaching for mastery, and also to develop future leaders.

*unless the participant is already an NCETM Accredited secondary PD Lead, in which case the full 15 days will be spent working on teaching for mastery work.

What are the benefits of participating in the programme?

The benefits for schools that apply to be part of the programme include:

  • The teachers in the department (including the lead teacher) developing a deep understanding of the principles and pedagogies underpinning teaching for mastery and enhanced mathematics subject knowledge with a particular emphasis on progression within key areas of mathematics

  • The teachers developing teaching, planning and assessment practices which support a teaching for mastery approach

  • The lead teacher developing his/her own understanding and practice in supporting collaborative professional development within and beyond school. (Participants who are not already NCETM Accredited PD Leads will also be able to gain this accreditation through successful completion of the programme.)

  • The department developing a clear set of principles, policies, practices and systems (including curriculum and staffing / timetable developments) which support a mastery curriculum and a teaching for mastery approach

  • The department making effective use of materials and resources, including textbooks to support the design of well-crafted lessons to support pupils’ mastery

  • Pupils developing a deep understanding of the mathematical ideas they are taught so that they fully meet the aims of the National Curriculum (i.e. fluency, reasoning and problem solving); showing a positive attitude towards mathematics; enjoying learning the subject; and demonstrating a growth mind-set

Who can apply?

For teachers being nominated by a school for the programme, the criteria outlined in the table below should be addressed in the application form, in the lead teacher’s statement and in the headteacher/senior leader’s statement.


What are the expectations of participating schools?

Schools that are selected to have their nominated teacher participate in the programme would commit to the following expectations:

  • The lead teacher will participate fully in the development programme and work on developing both understanding and practice

  • Working with the support of the subject leader, the lead teacher will support the department in developing its approach to teaching for mastery

  • Working with the Maths Hub, the lead teacher will help with the wider work of the Hub, particularly in Year 3

  • The school’s senior leadership will support the department in its teaching for mastery development work, including ensuring the lead teacher receives the required release time

What is the funding for the programme?

In 2018/19, the Maths Hub will cover the cost of the 15 days’ release time for the nominated Mastery Specialist and departmental developmental time, amounting to £3000 per school in total. In 2019/20, the Maths Hub will cover the cost of a further 15 days’ release time for the nominated Mastery Specialist (£3000) and will fund the cost of the teacher enrolling and participating in the NCETM Accredited Secondary PD Leads programme. Travel costs to all the training residentials will also be covered.

In 2020/21 Mastery Specialists will be paid at the SLE rate of £350 per day for 15 days of work (£5250) to support two other departments.

How do schools apply to take part?

Applicants should complete the application form below and e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5pm on Thursday 7th June 2018. All applications should also be copied to the appropriate headteacher. The selection process will be handled by the Maths Hub. Initial details of Maths Hubs can be found in the Appendix and full details at


Last modified onThursday, 17 May 2018 11:32
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