What is Mastery?

The Mastery Approach to Teaching and Learning Mathematics

At Bartley CE Junior School, we passionately support the Mastery-learning model of teaching the National Curriculum objectives implemented in 2014. This approach allows us to spend more time going into depth when exploring concepts in order to develop a longer lasting understanding (and, ideally, love) of mathematics.  

We are committed to ensuring that children have a solid, concrete conceptual understanding of age-appropriate subject knowledge and skills. We have the confidence to take learning at a steadier and deeper pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, whilst providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are working above the national expectation for their age.

We are very proud to be using the Singapore-style Maths No Problem materials to support this approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics.  More information about this - including supporting videos - are available here.

Mastery-led learning means that no child is taught content from the year group above them. Instead, they will spend time becoming really confident with the objectives for their age, applying and being creative and fluent with new knowledge and skills in multiple ways.  Complementing this, the development of greater reasoning and problem solving skills is at the heart of our mathematics curriculum. 

There will be some children who need to be taught objectives from a previous year group in order to access the learning for their own year group. This may particularly be necessary for any new arrivals to our school or children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). Teachers and learning support assistants will use pre-learning sessions to do this in order for us to quickly close the gaps and ensure that your child can learn the objectives for their year group.

In short, this means working towards:

  • Teach less, learn more: less teacher talk and more evidencing of learning and progress.
  • No child left behind: all children are enabled to keep up every day.
  • Space and time to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to gain greater depth of understanding.
  • Understanding real life applications wherever possible to make learning relevant and not abstract; nothing should be taught without a purpose.
  • Catch up: some children will be given additional time and support to learn concepts that they have not yet grasped from previous year groups.

We will be doing more of this:

  • Teaching all children in class, together, most of the time.
  • More verbal feedback and discussion during lessons, shorter comments in books and more ticking of evidence of correctly understood concepts.
  • Spending longer on one idea, exploring multiple representations and approaches.
  • Giving children who need it, additional support over shorter, more intense periods, like a day or week.
  • Continual assessment to ensure security of conceptual understanding before moving on.
  • Provision of support or scaffolding, when needed.
  • Present challenges through ‘Greater Depth’ questions and development of understanding through expert questioning.

There will be less of this:

  • Formal marking with lots of written feedback and highlighting.
  • Covering lots of ideas in one week.
  • Formal, long-term interventions to boost them out of class.
  • Separating children into ability groups.
  • Formal testing of children weekly or termly.

This approach to teaching and learning is incredibly well-researched, supported by a considerable weight of evidence and is widely regarded as excellent practice. We, at Bartley CE Junior School, are very excited to be taking this approach as we strongly believe that this is offers your child(ren) a fantastic start to their relationship with a key life skill.

If you wish to know a bit more detail, please read our Maths Story or ask to speak to a member of staff at school.