Deeper Understanding in Mathematics

Drawing on the best evidence in mathematics education research

The effective teaching of mathematics is a well understood process, with extensive and robust evidence of what works well available from important researchers such as John Mason, Anne Watson, Malcolm Swan, Margaret Brown and, more recently, meta-analyses which succinctly capture impactful practice (for example, the excellent recent report from The Education Endowment Foundation, Hodgen et al - see our blog and the NCETM report Mathematics Matters).

Mathematics teaching is more effective when it recognises both what has been learned and what needs to be learned, which means teachers must use assessment to build on pupils’ existing knowledge. Questions that reveal whether or not learning has occurred are complex, rich and explorative. Tasks should encourage reasoning rather than simple ‘answer getting’.

In this workshop, we will explore a range of higher-order questions, which can be addressed in a variety of ways including multiple representations and the use of mathematical manipulatives.

These rich questions exposes common misconceptions and other surprising phenomena, giving opportunities for extension, discussion and further learning.

We will use tasks which make connections between topics both within and beyond mathematics and with the real world and which engage pupils in collaborative learning that develops mathematical language through communicative activities.

A misconception has arisen in recent years that mathematics is about wading through questions and answering closed, simplistic problems. We will explore mathematical problems, suitable for all age and ability groups, which confront difficulties rather than seeking to avoid or pre-empt them. Such approaches also result in increased pupil independence and motivation.

The session will also link to the Complete Mathematics mastery model of learning, to illustrate how all pupils can learn all of school level mathematics.

Join us for a day of thought-provoking discussion and practical solutions for embedding approaches for deeper understanding in your classroom.

Booking Closed

Course Leader - Mark McCourt

Mark is the UK's leading authority on teaching for mastery. He has trained over 2000 schools in mastery models for schooling in the UK and overseas.

A leading figure in mathematics education, Mark has led many large-scale government education initiatives, both in the UK and overseas. Mark was a Director at the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and has also been a school leader, an Advanced Skills Teacher, a school inspector and a teacher trainer. He founded and was Chairman of the Teacher Development Trust.

Mark has extensive experience of mathematics teaching and learning across all age and ability groups, having taught students from age 3 to PhD!

Outline Programme:

  • Time

  • 10:00 - 11:00

    Research, Evidence and Myth-Busting
  • 11:00 - 12:30

    Higher Order Questions and Mutiple Representations
  • 12:30 - 13:00

  • 13:00 - 14:00

    Exemplar Topic: Exploring Simultaneous Equations
  • 14:00 - 15:00

    Mathematical Connections and Models

Locations and Dates:


Leeds City Academy, Leeds

Hurlingham Academy, London

Hillhead High School, Glasgow


Wednesday, 7th March 2018

Monday, 19th March 2018

Thursday, 22nd March 2018

Course Fees



£80 for subsequent delegates from the same school



All Complete Mathematics members benefit from free access to courses and conferences from La Salle Education
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