Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme

Following the success of the Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme thus far, 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.



Since 2014, Maths Hubs and the NCETM have been working together to develop approaches to teaching for mastery. Teaching for mastery is a pedagogical approach which aims to develop a deep and connected understanding of maths for all learners, enabling them to enjoy maths and demonstrate high achievement (including in examinations), giving them a sound basis for future learning and preparing them for their future employment. 


What's involved?

Participating schools will nominate a lead teacher to develop as a Mastery Specialist and follow a three-year programme beginning in the autumn term of 2023. During the first year, the emphasis will be on the lead teacher developing their knowledge, understanding and skills of teaching for mastery and the work will amount to 15 days’ worth of time; release time for these days will be funded at £200 per day. It will include the following activities and tasks:

  • 5 days attending central events (dates and locations to be confirmed, some will be face-to-face and some online)
  • 10 days personal development which might include:
    • working on their own classroom knowledge and practice
    • meeting with the hub’s Secondary Assistant Maths Hub Lead and other
    • visiting classrooms (primary and/or secondary) to see teaching for mastery in
    • other relevant activities

The head teacher, or their representative from the school’s senior leadership team, will also be required to attend a half day launch alongside the lead teacher at the online launch event.

In the academic year 2024/25, the participants will continue to develop their own classroom practices but with a significant emphasis on developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of all members of their department, and to explore, develop and implement department-wide approaches, structures and systems which support teaching for mastery. This work will amount to 15 days funded at £200 per day and will include the following activities and tasks:

  • 3 days attending central events (dates and locations to be confirmed)
  • 8 days development including
    • working within their own department
    • liaising with the hub’s Secondary Teaching for Mastery Lead and wider team
    • visiting classrooms to see teaching for mastery in action.
  • 4 days to participate in, write up and complete the NCETM’s PD Lead Development Accreditation Programme to acquire accredited PD Lead status to support the development of their own skills in leading professional development*

*If the teacher has already gained NCETM Secondary PD Lead accreditation there is no need to repeat the programme; if the teacher has accreditation in another phase, they will need to discuss this with the NCETM central team during the first year of the programme.

In the academic year 2025/26, the Mastery Specialist will be funded to lead a Work Group consisting of colleagues from two other schools, as well as continuing to work with their own department. The Work Group involves supporting participating departments in developing teaching for mastery approaches.

Beyond 2026, there will be further opportunities to work with schools and the Maths Hub, as agreed locally.

This is a fantastic opportunity for participants to improve maths education through teaching for mastery within their schools, and also to develop their professional development and leadership skills.


What are the benefits?

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

  • the department developing a curriculum informed by a clear set of principles, policies, practices and systems which support a teaching for mastery approach, as set out in the 2021 DfE Key Stage 3 non-statutory guidance
  • the teachers in the department (including the Specialist) developing a deep understanding of the principles and pedagogies underpinning teaching for mastery, and acquiring enhanced maths subject knowledge with a particular emphasis on progression within key areas of maths
  • the growth of teachers’ collaborative work, through which planning, teaching and assessment practices are developed
  • the Specialist developing their own understanding and practice in supporting collaborative professional development within and beyond school
  • the department making effective use of materials and resources, including textbooks, to support the design of well-crafted lessons


Who can apply?

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


  • Qualified Teacher Status
  • Employed as a teacher in a state-funded middle/secondary school; teaching KS3 and/or
    KS4 students
  • A minimum of two years’ experience teaching maths
  • 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 effectively with other professionals within own school
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • An understanding of what constitutes effective learning in maths, and the ability and confidence to communicate this


  • Additional Status, e.g. Lead Practitioner; Mathematics SLE; NCETM Accredited PD Lead
  • Maths subject leader or responsibility within a maths department
  • Experience of developing a department’s maths curriculum
  • Experience of leading collaborative professional development
  • Successful track record of working effectively with other professionals across a group of schools
  • The ability to grow leadership capacity in others
  • Already engaged with Maths Hub work on teaching for mastery.


What are the expectations?

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, and will also attend a half-day launch at the start of the programme.


What is the cost?

In 2023/24, the Maths Hub will cover the cost of the 15 days’ release time for the nominated lead teacher. In 2024/25, the Maths Hub will cover the cost of the 15 days’ release time for the lead teacher (if the teacher is already an accredited PD Lead they will not be funded for these four days). Travel costs to all the training events will also be covered.

In 2025/26, the Maths Hub will cover the cost of release time for the Mastery Specialist to participate in local Hub events and at a higher ‘SLE rate’ to enable them to work with other schools.



We are no longer accepting applications for this programme for 2023/24, however applications are now open for 2024/25, follow the link below for further information.