Secondary Maths MAT Leads: leading and developing mathematics teaching

Dates: To be confirmed for 2021-22. Venue tbc.

The purpose of this programme is to offer focused support to those who lead mathematics across multiple schools within a MAT to enable them to better understand and develop effective maths pedagogy approaches across those schools. The project will also support participants to develop their role as a leader of system change, curriculum change, and teacher professional development. This programme is suitable regardless of whether there is a MAT-wide approach to maths or whether schools determine curriculum approaches individually.

Whilst it is recognised that those who lead maths across a MAT are often the subject lead for both primary and secondary, the key focus for this programme is their work with secondary teachers, although consideration will be given to transition and how the different phases relate to each other. Additionally, focusing on developing skills with one phase is likely to impact positively on work with other phases.

Participants will engage with a centrally-led programme offered nationally, with the potential for regional provision dependent on numbers.


A key aim of the NCETM and Maths Hubs is to develop successful secondary maths departments that are well led, and that provide ongoing subject professional development through collaborative working both within and between departments.

There are several factors which make this programme timely:

  • MATs who initially focused on developing effective governance, leadership and structures are now moving their attention to school and trust development of teaching and learning. Many now have a designated maths MAT lead whose role is developing the teaching and learning of maths within their trust
  • Departments who are part of a MAT may not have autonomy or authority to make the local decisions about their maths curriculum and pedagogy, and this can be a barrier to developing, embedding and sustaining. It is therefore vital that we engage with those who hold the authority to do so, and increasingly these are the maths MAT leads.
  • The emergence of the new role of maths MAT leads has grown, yet there is a limited current body of evidence to support leaders in this new type of leadership role. What exists is not easily accessible to all and there is not yet an established network of peers that can facilitate the sharing of such practice. In small- and medium-sized MATs, there is not necessarily a development programme in place for those leading and responsible for the curriculum across several schools; it is important that these leaders have support with, and understanding of, approaches to leading curriculum change within and across a group of schools, and leading professional development with teachers and teacher leaders.

In a report (Multi-academy trust: benefits, challenges and functions - Ofsted, July 2019), Ofsted identified that the extent to which MATs are directly involved in contributing to the further development of their schools varies widely. The amount of contact individual schools within MATs have with each other also varies considerably. They made the following recommendation:

“MATs need to ensure that collaboration within the trust is used effectively and judiciously to maximise the benefits of shared expertise and mutual learning, while minimising unproductive networking for its own sake.”

It becomes increasingly important to use internal capacity and collaboration to sustain the professional development and curriculum change.

The intentions of this programme are:

  1. for secondary MAT maths leads to develop a good understanding of effective maths pedagogy to achieve deep, secure and connected understanding
  2. to develop the secondary MAT maths leads as leaders of professional development, both with teachers and teacher leaders
  3. to develop the secondary MAT maths leads as leaders of curriculum change in order that they can:
    1. support those departments implementing approaches to achieve deep, secure and connected understanding
    2. and/or implement approaches to achieve deep, secure and connected understanding across all the schools they have responsibility for
  4. where applicable, to enable secondary MAT maths leads to support and make effective use of expertise they have within their Trust
  5. to provide opportunities for these leaders to work collaboratively with their peers.

This project provides an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of effective pedagogical approaches, of their wider roles, and of their capacity with their colleagues to transform secondary maths learning.

Who will be leading the group?

Each national (or regional, dependant on numbers) programme cohort will be led by NCETM team members in conjunction with MHLs or other highly skilled and experienced leaders of professional development. The Cohort Leads will draw upon other expertise within the NCETM and among Maths Hubs to support elements of the workshops, as required.

Who is it for?

Those who lead maths across multiple schools within a MAT, including at least one secondary school.

What are the intended outcomes?

Departmental policies and approaches

Secondary maths MAT leads and their school’s maths department leaders will:

  • promote and develop a shared vision for effective teaching and learning in maths
  • develop a coherent and ambitious action plan focused on improving outcomes for pupils and the professional development needs of teachers in a sustainable way over time
  • ensure that the curriculum design translates into schemes of work which are well established and provide pedagogical content knowledge support across the department
  • ensure that there are approaches in place to support the work of all secondary departments within their MAT through continuing professional development and collaborative working across the MAT.

Practice development

Secondary MAT maths leads will:

  • work with subject leaders across their MAT to lead and manage maths teaching effectively and to develop approaches within their own departments
  • develop a coherent and connected curriculum
  • develop collaborative ways of working within and across their schools to support ongoing developments
  • develop in their ability to lead curriculum change.

Professional learning

Secondary MAT maths leads will:

  • begin to develop a deep understanding of the vision, principles and pedagogies associated with deep, secure and connected understanding of maths
  • have a clear understanding of the leadership and management skills required to enable them to effectively promote and develop approaches within their schools
  • understand the principles and practices behind the creation of a coherent and connected curriculum
  • understand the benefits of collaborative professional development for sustained development of professional knowledge and practice within a department and across groups of schools
  • develop an understanding of effective models of maths teacher professional development, the rationale for using them, and the evidence that supports them through a review of international evidence.

What will it involve?

There will be a single programme model which will have the following elements:

  • three one-day national/regional workshops with a cohort of secondary MAT maths leads
  • online community animated by Cohort Leads
  • secondary MAT maths leads carrying out and evaluating their own improvement initiatives, both in and between sessions.

The programme will be delivered nationally, or if numbers permit, in regional locations in the North, Midlands and South.

What is the cost?


Participants' schools receive a unit delivery grant of £800 to cover four days of release time (4 x £200).