We work in the Early Years Foundation Team at Nottingham City Council and we approached the Education Improvement Board to apply for funding to lead an EYFS Maths Mastery research group with 9 x F2 Teachers from 9 City schools (with varying levels of deprivation). This is a great opportunity to bring together experts from the field of Mathematics and we are working in collaboration with Martin Tillbrook (Teaching for Mastery Primary Lead with East Midlands South Maths Hub) and Professors from Nottingham University. By working together we are looking at how teaching in a mastery style can be weaved into Mathematics teaching in an EYFS classroom while maintaining Early Years pedagogy. We will be blogging on the EIB website over the course of the year and will be sharing an analysis of the project at the end.

Why are we doing this?

Many children in KS1 and KS2 are starting to be taught in a Mastery style since the changes to the National Curriculum. It therefore makes sense to start this journey in EYFS so we can enable the majority of children to have a secure understanding of Early Number Sense which will support the transition into Year One.

Sustainable CPD

In light of the addition of the Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development to the Teaching Standards, we are looking at creating a sustainable model for CPD in schools. Throughout this research project we will be using a Lesson Study approach (supported by Professor Geoff Wake, Nottingham University) to plan EYFS Maths Mastery Lessons. This approach is enabling teachers to reflect on their lessons, thinking about how the children responded to; the resources, the questions asked, the skill being developed and much more!

We’re going a Mastery journey!mastery-journey

Using a Mastery approach, children will work in mixed ability groups. Does this challenge your thinking? Interested to find out more? Hopefully this well-known story will help you to see how it works in practice.


The 4 C’s

In order to develop children’s Early Number Sense, weekly lesson planning will include elements of the 4 C’s (counting, comparison, composition and cardinality) as research has shown that if children have a secure understanding of these they are more likely to become successful mathematicians as they get older. Please see below for a very brief and simple definition of these terms. During the Summer Term training, these definitions will be unpicked in lots more detail.

Try this out..









We’ll be back with an update in the New Year.


Caroline Vissani and Lucy Savage, Early Years Specialists at Nottingham City Council

Want to find out more?


This is a link to a Year 1 lesson on finding the difference. Look out for the Mastery Style questioning and the children answering in full sentences (if you are not a member of NCETM you can register for free)


An article written for NRich by Sue Gifford who talks about Early Years Mathematics: How to Create a Nation of Mathematics Lovers?