Mastering Number at Reception and KS1

Secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children

This programme will develop solid number sense, including fluency and flexibility with number facts, which will have a lasting impact on future learning for all children. The programme will also involve high quality professional development for teachers – a range of synchronous and asynchronous online professional development, including three live sessions, as well as locally led sessions, across the academic year.

A school’s participation involves teachers from each of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, the maths subject lead, and the headteacher. In larger, multi-form schools, it is expected that lead teachers support colleagues in Reception and KS1 to adopt the same approach in their classes, to ensure consistency across the school.



Since 2014, the NCETM and Maths Hubs have been working together to develop approaches to teaching for mastery within primary maths. Thousands of schools have benefited. The Mastering Number Programme has been running since 2021 and is wholly consistent with teaching for mastery.

For schools in the Mastering Number Programme, children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will have a daily teacher-led session of 10 to 15 minutes, designed to ensure that pupils develop fluency with, and understanding of, number that is crucial to future success in maths and academic progress more generally.


What does the latest 2023 Ofsted report,

'Coordinating Mathematical Success' say about Mastering Number?


To help busy teachers and school leaders make the most of the Ofsted maths report, the NCETM are producing a series of helpful guides on "How to put the Ofsted Maths Report into Practice". The first of these guides focuses on the Mastering Number programme:




What is involved?


The central programme

The core professional development programme will be delivered by an experienced team from the NCETM, led by the NCETM’s Director of Primary Mathematics, Debbie Morgan. It will involve the lead teachers, maths subject lead and headteacher engaging in a range of synchronous and asynchronous online professional development, including three live sessions, across the academic year. Headteachers and maths leads will also be invited to attend two sessions – one at the beginning of the year and one in the summer term – to support them to implement and embed the programme to ensure maximum impact.

In Reception, teachers will be expected to use the Mastering Number materials for their main maths lessons for all number work, and ensure that children are offered additional experiences to embed their learning in the wider provision. (Ideas for this are included in the materials.) In Key Stage 1, teachers will be expected to deliver a daily session of 10 to 15 minutes in addition to their daily maths lesson, which may be a little shorter as a result. Resources, including lesson plans and visual materials, will be provided.

Local Work Group

The Work Group will consist of up to 50 schools and be led by a professional experienced in early maths and in leading professional development in their Maths Hub area. During the year, teachers in the Work Group will work together to share experiences and reflect on the impact of the programme on their pupils and on themselves as teachers. The Work Group Lead will facilitate and steer regular discussion among participants in a dedicated online community. This ongoing cross-fertilisation of experiences, ideas and successes will create a vibrant and sustained professional learning experience for all those taking part. It will also significantly benefit pupils in the participating schools.


What are the benefits?

Participating in the Work Group will provide the following benefits to participant schools:

  • High-quality support for teacher professional development for the lead teachers, directed by the NCETM and facilitated by the local Maths Hub
  • Supportive and collaborative online community facilitated by the Work Group Lead
  • Resources provided, including coherent plans for the Mastering Number daily sessions in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2
  • No charge for participation.


What are the expectations?

Schools chosen to participate in the Work Group commit to the following expectations:

  • The school will introduce Mastering Number in all Reception classes, as the main maths lesson for all number work, and ensure that children are offered opportunities within the wider provision to embed their learning, including by using ideas suggested in the materials.
  • Year 1 and Year 2 classes should use the Mastering Number materials in addition to their daily maths lesson (which could be shortened as a result of participation in this Work Group).
  • Teachers will be expected to contribute regularly to an online community led by the Work Group Lead, reflecting on the implementation and impact of the programme, as well as attending locally-led sessions
  • Participants in the project will engage in all online synchronous and asynchronous professional development, including three live sessions, throughout the academic year.
  • The school will provide any feedback required by the Maths Hub and participate in the evaluation processes required.
  • At the end of the year, the school should consider how they will continue to engage with their local maths hub, e.g. through joining a Work Group such as Mastery Readiness, Development, Embedding, or Sustaining, or Embedding the Impact of Mastering Number.


Who can apply?

This Work Group is open to all state-funded primary schools in England that have not yet engaged with the Mastering Number Programme. If oversubscribed, priority will be given to schools who have not yet engaged in a Teaching for Mastery Work Group

N.B Where a school intends to join a Mastery Readiness, Development or Embedding Work Group in 2024/25, they should consider carefully their capacity to also engage in Mastering Number.


What is the cost?

Mastering Number is fully funded by the Maths Hubs Programme, so is free to participating schools. Resources will be provided for each school, in order for them to teach daily sessions of the Mastering Number Programme.

The NCETM have also confirmed that schools that sign up for 2024/25 will be provided with a class set of rekenreks. 

Want to find out more?


We held an online pop-up event for schools interested in joining the Mastering Number at Reception and KS1 Work Group. During the session our Mastering Number Work Group Leads shared the aims, benefits and impact of participating in the Mastering Number programme. You can catch up on a recording of the session below:


Please click here to access the PDF of the slides from this session


More information about the Mastering Number Programme can also be found on the NCETM Website


The application deadline has now been extended until Wednesday 24th April 2024. To apply please follow the link to our application form below.

Once you have submitted the form, please email copying in all those named in the application as confirmation of their commitment to the Work Group.