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Ark Dickens Primary School

“I disliked teaching maths for years until joining Mathematics Mastery. Now I love it!”

Kirsty Williams | Year 1 class teacher

I have been teaching for 14 years and until joining the Mathematics Mastery partnership in 2014, I didn’t enjoy teaching maths. I always disliked the standard three-part lesson structure (feeling it lacked pace) and I wasn’t keening on having set ability groups.

But since getting on board with the programme and implementing the mastery approach, I now love teaching mathematics! I’ve gained so much self-confidence in my subject knowledge and I’m excited to learn more. I have a firm belief in the growth-mindset – a core principle of the programme. This underpins how I teach and approach the subject.

The programme makes a huge difference to my lessons and the pupils’ learning, particularly in the pace, language and level of questioning displayed by the children. The Mathematics Mastery six-part lesson structure was new to us, and once I got used to it I saw a big improvement in my delivery. I can really see how breaking up the lesson picks up my pace and keeps the children on their toes.

The Mathematics Mastery principles are evident across all our maths lessons. We encourage children to speak in full sentences when discussing their work and this has really supported their development of mathematical language. Using the ‘Next Steps for Depth’ (a series of steps which demonstrate depth of understanding in practice, such as ‘can you draw it?’ ‘can you explain it to a friend?’ ‘can you prove it?’) have also really helped the children’s understanding.

I can see the positive changes in the classroom. The children have a real love of maths and regard it as fun. We have fully embraced the ‘every second counts’ element and sing transition songs when walking from a lesson to the library.

The whole ethos of the growth-mindset has given our learners great confidence. I often hear the children say ‘struggling is learning’ and my class love it when I give them incorrect equations and they have to explain what I did wrong!

My hope for the future is to see the mastery approach adopted by all schools. For me it really has transformed maths education here at ARK Dickens, and I’m proud to be a member of the partnership.

Want to explore our classroom resources in more depth?

Sign up for a free trial of the Mathematics Mastery programme. You’ll receive a series of emails over several weeks – packed with videos and materials looking at how to teach different topics across a range of year groups. You’ll see how our classroom principles are brought to life and you'll get a taster of the professional development we offer teachers.