East Acton Primary School "Growing Together"

Teaching for Mastery at EAPS

Mastery in Mathematics


Inspired by the fundamental principles and the key ideas of the teaching for Mastery (Based on the research of NCETM) and consistent with the aims of the Primary National Curriculum for England, our school’s teaching is underpinned by a belief that the vast majority of pupils can succeed in learning mathematics in line with the National expectations for the end of each key stage.


In lessons, pupils use a range of practical equipment to help them grasp and consolidate their understanding of new concepts. They move between concrete, pictorial and abstract representations of mathematics to help them recognise links and connections within each concept and between different concepts too. Pupils explain different strategies and methods when solving problems. 


Above all, our provision nurtures pupils' curiosity around this subject and brings enjoyment to pupils, parents and staff.   


The NCETM mastery approach is based on the five key principles, drawn from research evidence and reflected in day-to-day maths class teaching:

  • Representations and Structures - Teachers use different representations and resources to help the children to see and understand different structures, relationships and connections in maths. For example, they may use the ten frame to help them recognise different number bonds to 10. 
  • Variations - Teachers will represent the same concept in different ways to develop children's deeper and holistic understanding. For example, they will explore the concept of one half by shading a half of a shape and they will also share a group of objects into two equal parts. 
  • Fluency - Teachers will encourage children to develop their quick recall of facts and develop flexibility when moving from one concept to another. For example, children will use their knowledge of number bonds to 10, such as 3+7=10, to derive that 30+70=100 and so on. It is not just knowing facts by heart, but also making connections between related concepts. Being fluent in maths means knowing how maths works. 
  • Mathematical thinking - Teachers encourage the use of mathematical language, thinking and reasoning through discussion in class. For example, the children will explain how and why addition and subtraction are inverse operations. 
  • Coherence - Teachers break down lessons into small connected steps that gradually unfold each concept and enable all pupils to participate and apply each new learning to a range of contexts. This leads to generalisation of the concepts, fluency and depth in learning.


5 Big Ideas of Teaching for Mastery