This project aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number. Attention will be given to key knowledge and understanding needed in Reception classes, and progression through KS1 to support success in the future.

Who can take part?

Lead participants from Work Group schools will be three teachers, one each from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, with some support given to subject leaders and headteachers.

This programme is open to all state-funded primary schools in England. If oversubscribed, priority for places will be given to schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged children.

What is involved?

Work Group lead participants will be supported by central training and resources. There is an expectation that they will provide a daily teaching session for all children of 10 to 15 minutes, in addition to their normal maths lesson. There is also the expectation that they will contribute to an online community to share practice and engage in critical reflection.

In this short video, Debbie Morgan, the NCETM’s Director for Primary, explains how the abacus-like rekenrek can be used to help children develop confidence and fluency with number. Use of a rekenrek is one element of the Mastering Number Programme, and participating schools will be provided with sets of the equipment free of charge.


What will you learn?

Participants will:

  • develop skills in working in a professional learning community, reflecting with other colleagues on their own practice, and refining skills through support and challenge within a community
  • develop a secure understanding of how to build firm mathematical foundations with a stronger subject and pedagogical understanding for EYFS and KS1
  • work to develop intentional teaching strategies focused on developing fluency in calculation and number sense for ALL children
  • develop understanding and their use of appropriate manipulatives to support their teaching of mathematical structures.

What is the cost?

The Mastering Number project is fully funded by the Maths Hubs Programme so is free to participating schools.


How can you find out more?

There is an FAQ section at the bottom of this page. If, before applying, you would like to find out more about what this project involves for schools and teachers, please watch the NCETM's briefing video where more details will be given. 



We've produced a flyer summarising the programme. Download it to share with colleagues in your own and other schools.


What should you do next?

Download and complete the online application.

Early Application is recommended to avoid disappointment. 

Download application


This section aims to help schools who are considering engaging in the Mastering Number Programme from September 2021. This should be read along with the application form above.

1. If we are a large school (above one-form entry) will all teachers need to be engaged?

2. Are schools able to sign up for Mastering Number if they are not sure all year groups can commit?
3. Are SEND schools eligible to apply for Mastering Number?
4. How does teaching for mastery fit with the programme?
5. Can junior schools apply and use the materials as an intervention?
6. Can we just access the resources and not the professional development?
7. Do we keep the resources after this academic year?
8. Will our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 teachers need to be released at the same time for the live central workshops?
9. What is the expectation of time from teachers?
10. Is it appropriate for schools with mixed-age classes to apply?
11. How will headteachers and subject leaders be involved?
12. We have heard about rekenreks (abacus-like resource). Will there be one set for each class?