Primary Mastery Specialist Programme

Following the successful first seven cohorts of the Mastery Specialist Programme, the NCETM and Maths Hubs are now seeking to recruit an eighth cohort of expert primary school teachers to develop and work as Primary Mastery Specialists. 



Since 2014, the NCETM and Maths Hubs have been working together to develop approaches to teaching for mastery within primary mathematics. This has been informed by the teaching of maths in high performing South East Asian jurisdictions.


What's involved?

The first year in post is a training and development year, either establishing or embedding mastery in their own schools, with the support of the senior leadership team. In the second year the training focus shifts to develop Mastery Specialists in their role of working with other schools. In the second and subsequent years, specialists will engage in a variety of work, including leading Work Groups which support schools to develop, embed or sustain their approaches to teaching for mastery.

In their specialist training year, 2022/23, participating teachers will:

  • participate in three two-day residential professional development events led by the NCETM
    (all dates are provisional dependent on restrictions on travel/work etc. in the wake of the
    coronavirus pandemic); provisionally, these will be held in November 2022, March 2023 and
    June 2023 but are subject to confirmation
  • broaden their own understanding of, and skills in, teaching maths for mastery in their own
  • work with colleagues, including the headteacher, to develop teaching for mastery approaches
    across their school, using a range of professional development activity, including regular
    Teacher Research Group (TRG) meetings
  • lead a pilot TRG with teachers from interested local schools
  • collaborate with the Maths Hub’s leadership and the other Maths Hub Mastery Specialists.

In 2023/24 and beyond (subject to DfE funding), the Mastery Specialists will:

  • lead Work Groups to develop, embed and sustain teaching for mastery in other schools in
    their Maths Hub
  • continue to develop, embed and sustain teaching for mastery approaches across their own
  • continue to collaborate with the Maths Hub’s leadership and Mastery Specialists
  • attend three days of training to develop their role as Professional Development Leads and
    obtain NCETM PD Lead Accreditation, if appropriate.


What are the benefits?

  • Mastery Specialists will develop:
    • understanding of the principles of mastery within the context of teaching maths
    • deep subject and pedagogical knowledge of primary maths to support teaching for mastery
    • skills of teaching, planning and assessment in order to effectively support pupils in developing a deep and sustainable understanding (i.e. mastery) of maths
    • Professional development leadership skills to support teachers, within their own school and in other schools, to adopt a teaching for mastery approach, including leading Teacher Research Groups.
  • Mastery Specialists will have the opportunity to work closely with the NCETM team and the national and local communities of Mastery Specialists.
  • Mastery Specialists, who are not already accredited NCETM PD Leads, will be able to gain this accreditation through successful completion of the programme.
  • The Mastery Specialist’s school will benefit from high quality and sustained support in embedding teaching for mastery across the school.


Who can apply?

See below for the essential and desirable criteria for applicants to the programme. This should be evidenced in the application form, which includes both the applicant’s statement and the headteacher’s reference.


  • Qualified Teacher Status
  • Employed as a teacher in a primary/infant/junior/middle school, and regularly teaching maths to the same class of children at least three days a week
  • Able to fulfil the programme requirements and time commitment outlined above
  • Good teaching skills in maths as evidenced by internal/external/Ofsted observation
  • Passion and enthusiasm for teaching for mastery
  • Ability to work collaboratively with others
  • Successful track record of working with other professionals effectively within your own school
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • An understanding of what constitutes effective learning in maths and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • Desire to develop their skills both in the classroom and in working with others


  • Additional Status, e.g. Mathematics SLE/MaST
  • Mathematics subject leader
  • A minimum of four years teaching primary maths
  • A desire to develop as a specialist teacher of primary maths
  • Successful track record of working effectively with other professionals across a group of schools
  • The ability to grow leadership capacity in others

Maths Hubs will look to appoint Mastery Specialists so that they both meet the criteria as set out above but also fit into the hub’s strategic plan for developing teaching for mastery across the region.


What are the expectations?

For teachers selected to be part of the programme, there are the following expectations of them and
their schools:

  • The headteacher and Mastery Specialist commit to developing, embedding and sustaining
    teaching for mastery approaches in maths across the school, supported by professional
    development activity, including regular TRG meetings in their own school
  • The headteacher commits to supporting the Mastery Specialist with their outreach work with
    other schools in ensuring that they are given appropriate release time
  • The Mastery Specialist commits to developing their understanding and practice related to
    maths teaching for mastery including:
    • participating in the three two-day residentials (subject to final confirmation)
    • developing maths teaching for mastery within their own classroom
    • completing any assignments required as part of the development programme
    • developing their role as a leader of professional development
  • The Mastery Specialist commits to all aspects of the role and the release time required; in
    2022/23 this is 15 days
  • The Mastery Specialist commits to all aspects of the role and release time required in the
    subsequent years. The exact number is decided after discussion with the Maths Hub and is
    approximately 12-37 days carrying out the work outlined above
  • The Mastery Specialist and headteacher will provide any reports required by the Maths Hub
    and participate in any evaluation processes required
  • The headteacher commits to support the Mastery Specialist, including:
    ▪ helping the specialist develop and embed teaching for mastery within the school
    ▪ ensuring the teacher receives the required release time.


What is the cost?

In the development year, 2022/23, the specialist’s Maths Hub will fund the cost of 15 days release
time for the Mastery Specialist’s work and the cost of travel to the NCETM launch event, if applicable.
In 2023/24 and beyond (subject to DfE funding), the specialist’s Maths Hub will fund the cost of
release time for the Mastery Specialist’s work and the cost of travel for school support visits. The
exact number of days is to be discussed with the Maths Hub but would be in the regional of 12-37
days per year.



Applications for this programme are now closed for 2022/23 and 2023/24 , however if you would like to express an interest in our 2024/25 programme, please complete our expression of interest form