We are delighted to announce a major new initiative, of a year long programme operated by NCETM and Maths Hubs,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 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.

Lead teacher participants (teachers of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) will receive training and resources equipping them to give their class a daily short ‘number sense’ session as part of scheduled maths teaching. The programme will last for the whole school year.

Over the year, children will use a range of materials and representations, including a small abacus-like piece of equipment called a rekenrek. These will be provided for schools.

Leading the programme is the NCETM’s Director for Primary Mathematics, Debbie Morgan.

‘The rekenrek looks like a simple piece of equipment, but it can be very powerful. Used by skilful, trained teachers it can help children move away from counting in ones to start doing basic mental calculations. We call this ‘number sense’, and research tells us that if children develop fluency and flexibility with number facts and relationships early on, they will make much more progress later, in both maths and other subjects.’

Teachers in the programme will join local, online communities, led and guided by a teacher or other expert, and engage in regular discussion and experience-sharing as they, and their pupils, progress through the programme.

The information and application pack can be found below.  Completed applications should be emailed to

Applications can be accepted up until 14th September 2021.