Primary NCETM resources

Primary Spine of Mastery Materials ( 

Successful teaching for mastery depends to a large degree on a teacher’s subject knowledge, as well as their understanding of the learning steps required, and the order of those steps. Teaching based on knowledge of mathematical structures and relationships gives pupils the best chance of building deep and secure mathematical understanding. To that end, these materials are designed to assist teachers in their own professional development.

We’ve split the curriculum up into a small number of areas – we call these ‘spines’ – and we’re starting where children start: with Spine 1: Number, Addition and Subtraction. This is followed by Spine 2: Multiplication and Division.

While great care has gone into preparing these materials, with input from Mastery Specialists developed in the Maths Hubs programme, we are subjecting them to trialling in schools taking part in Maths Hubs projects in 2017 to 2019. That explains why, for now, they are labelled ‘Autumn 2017 pilot’, ‘Spring 2018 pilot’, and so on.

An explanation of the structure of these materials, with guidance on how teachers can use them, is contained in this NCETM podcast. The main message in the podcast is that the materials are principally for professional development purposes. They demonstrate how understanding of concepts can be built through small coherent steps and the application of mathematical representations. Unlike a textbook scheme they are not designed to be directly lifted and used as teaching materials. The materials can support teachers to develop their subject and pedagogical knowledge and so help to improve mathematics teaching in combination with other high-quality resources, such as textbooks.