Mastery Sustaining - Mathematical Thinking

Secondary Challenging Topics at GCSE

Type: Work Group For: KS3 and KS4 teachers
Time: 2 half days and 4 online twilights Cost: Free of charge

Discover ways to help GCSE students improve their mathematical thinking

Exam boards often note that when students come to GCSE examination problem solving questions are frequently poorly addressed. This work group is designed to provide practical and theoretical elements to support the development of students’ mathematical thinking whilst also providing tasks that can be shared department wide.  

Sitting within the sustaining phase of Secondary Mastery, this work group is designed for Maths departments that have completed the development and embedding years of mastery support. Two teachers from each department should ideally attend the work group to enable them to work together to spread the ideas throughout the department. The knowledge is focused around teaching KS4 pupils, but many of these ideas are also applicable to KS3. 

Mathematical Thinking focus


Strategies examined include: 

  • Changing calculations into questions 

  • Withholding Information 

  • Hide and Reveal  

  • Chains of reasoning 

  • Sequencing solution 

  • Providing access for all students to think mathematically 

What will the work groups achieve?

Professional learning

Departments and participants will: 

  • Understand the value of collaboration in creating a coherent curriculum in a culture of professional learning. 

  • Have a clear understanding of the leadership and management support required to enable them to effectively develop teaching for mastery approaches within their own departments. 

  • Understand the principles and practices behind the creation of a coherent and connected curriculum which promotes teaching for mastery. 

  • Understand the benefits of collaborative professional development for sustained development of professional knowledge and practice within a department. 

Practice development

Participants will: 

  • Sustain classroom practices aligned to those in the NCETM’s Essence of Mathematics Teaching for Mastery.  

  • Collaborate to create a coherent curriculum in a culture of professional learning. 

  • Develop and implement a coherent and ambitious sustained development plan with clear aims based on evidence of need, and an associated professional development programme which will support all departmental members in meeting these aims. 

Whole school/departmental policies and approaches

Departments will: 

  • Share a common vision, culture and set of principles which align with those in the NCETM’s Essence of Mathematics Teaching for Mastery.

  • Continue to develop teaching for mastery approaches consistently within their own departments.

Student outcomes

Students with departments of the participants will: 

  • Think, reason and discuss their maths in order to deepen their understanding. 

  • Have a positive attitude to maths and attain high levels of achievement in maths. 

If you would like to participate on this programme, please complete our Expression of Interest form.                   

Please contact if you have any further questions.