Educational Trends 2017 – Maths Mastery

by Anna Michaelidou

2017 has arrived and with it come some great new educational trends that we, here at First Tutors, have been following. The first trend that we delve into this year is Maths Mastery; a programme that aims to improve understanding, enjoyment and attainment in Mathematics.


Many children struggle with Maths and without someone to explain better or some home private tuition many students are struggling to attain at least a grace C in their Maths GCSE. An article in The Telegraph states:

Figures published yesterday (25/08/2016) revealed that the percentage of pupils achieving a C grade or above this year saw the sharpest decline since the exams were launched in 1988.

It goes on to say:

The percentage of all students gaining A*-C grades dropped 2.1 percentage points to 66.9 per cent, as more 17-year-olds resat their English and maths qualifications following Government changes to the system.

According to the reforms, all students must now achieve a C in GCSE English and maths, or they will be forced to retake the qualification.

Why is Maths so important?

Maths is not just a lesson children learn in school but a life skill needed throughout their lives; from learning to tell the time and counting change to making decisions later on in life such as mortgage rates, investment options and understanding data. It is a skill that we use everyday of our lives.

Most professions use some form of Maths to perform their duties and the better understanding you have of Maths from a young age the easier life will be for you as you get older. Working out simple sums or calculating certain problems will not need so much of your attention leaving you able to concentrate on other aspects of your life.

So, what is Maths Mastery?

Maths Mastery is an approach to the way Mathematics is taught aiming to deepen mathematical understanding in all children. It is a professional development programme for teachers everywhere that also offers curriculum resources for classrooms and opportunities for collaboration between teachers.

Mathematics Mastery states that:

A mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a person can represent it in multiple ways, has the mathematical language to communicate related ideas, and can independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations.

Maths Mastery aims to explore different mathematical concepts and understanding which mathematical approach would be the most effective in different situations. Children are encouraged to use visual aids and abstract ideas to represent various mathematical concepts and to apply knowledge gained to real-life scenarios.

Key Principles

The key principles of Maths Mastery are:

  • Problem solving

Children will build skills needed to solve new problems by grasping the relevant mathematical principles.

  • High Expectations

Children are encouraged to build up their confidence and resilience with the emphasis on the importance of maths in education.

  • Concrete, pictorial, abstract

Helping to instil their mathematical knowledge using pictures, objects, numbers and words to enrich their learning experience.

  • Depth before breadth

The great approach that children should be given the time to completely understand and explore what they have learnt before speeding onto new topics.

  • Growth Mindset

Understanding that a child's abilities can be developed and enhanced through practice.

  • Mathematical language

Introducing key mathematical terms and language to children helping them to build their language and reasoning skills.

To Conclude

Maths Mastery is an excellent programme that aims to change the way Maths is taught and bring fun and enjoyment to learning mathematics. Maths is an essential life skill that enables us to understand the world around us and enable us to lead a varied life, so any programme that aims to benefit children from all backgrounds and improve their mathematical skills can only be a good thing.

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