Mastering Number – coming soon 2022/23

In a major new initiative, the NCETM and Maths Hubs have announced a year-long programme to run in thousands of primary schools from September. It is aimed at strengthening the understanding of number, and fluency with number facts, among children in the first three years of school.

The programme is called Mastering number: a new programme for early primary pupils | NCETM  and there are places for up to 6,000 schools. It is wholly consistent with and complementary to the Primary Teaching for Mastery Programme, which has been running in more than 8,000 schools since 2016.

Information and application:

In 2021/22, all Maths Hubs will organise communities of schools following the Mastering Number Programme. 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.

Each Maths Hub is now seeking to recruit schools to join the Work Groups for this programme and The Jurassic Maths Hub is looking to recruit 120 schools for the next academic year.

Applications for 2021/22 are now closed. Register your interest for 2022/23

A school’s participation involves teachers from each of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (in one-form entry schools), the maths subject lead, and the headteacher. In small schools, there may be just one or two participating class teachers. 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 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.

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 (seen in the below video). 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.

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, visual resources and practical equipment, will be provided.

Central to the programme will be a small, abacus-like piece of equipment called a rekenrek, which will be provided for use by children in participating classes.

Local Work Groups

Each Work Group will consist of up to 40 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.

Benefits for participating schools

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.
  • Free sets of the central physical resource: the abacus-like rekenrek. (see images below)
  • No charge for participation.

Who can apply?

Any primary school can apply, and there are thousands of places. Should the programme be oversubscribed, priority will be given to schools with the highest levels of disadvantage. Early applications will be welcomed.

N.B Schools in Mastery Readiness, Development and Embedding Work Groups for 2021/22 should prioritise their existing teaching for mastery commitments and therefore should not apply.

Expectations of participating schools

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

  • The school will introduce Mastering Number in all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes, 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 two, more formal online sessions, during 2021/22.
  • 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 any evaluation processes required.


There is no charge to schools participating in the programme.  Free resources will be provided for each school, in order for them to teach daily sessions of the Mastering Number Programme.

How to apply to the Jurassic Hub:

Applications for 2021/22 are now closed. However you can now register your interest in taking part next year 2022 / 23.  

How can you find out more?

If, before applying, you would like to find out more about what this project involves for schools and teachers, there will be three live online information/taster sessions where more details will be given. For interested schools, only one person should register for the session (the headteacher, maths lead, Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 teacher).

Click on the link below to register and sign up for the session of your choice. Please note that sessions have limited numbers of spaces, and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For further information please visit the NCETM website.

Click HERE for a PDF printable flyer