Maths Hub

Maths Hub

Planning & Resources

All we want is .....

More than any other aspect the most common request from teachers is one of resources and teaching materials. This can be frustrating if you hold the opinion that resources alone are not the answer to effect the change we hope to achieve in the current evolution of maths education. However often the provision of a teaching idea in the form of an activity, problem or series of questions can allow a teacher to explore a new strategy for learning which they may not have done.

So the focus for sharing of resources and teaching materials could be to act as a catalyst to encourage colleagues to try new and occassionally innovative methods of teaching in a bid to generate greater reflection and collaboration amongst the region's professionals. We very much hope that teachers are inspired to tell us how new strategies fare in the classroom (good and bad) and share resources of their own. SYMH will be most effective if it can act as a conduit to collaboration across the region as well as providing access to new ideas from across the country.

Teaching for mastery

With respect to teaching for mastery we hope the focus of sharing ideas and materials will, over time increasingly shift to incorporating elements of teaching for mastery principles and pedagogy. One of the most impactful strategies is collaboratively planning and in all work groups there are oppotunities available for colleagues to participate with other teachesr from other schools.

Collaborative planning, where do we start?

Different methods being suggested for departments or groups of colleagues to try include;

  • Card sort of increasingly complex questions
  • "S-plan" of small step development
    • Taking a "big idea" and exploring connections

Increasingly complex questions/concepts

This strategy for professsional development collaborative discussion involves choosing a topic area within the curriculum (for example area of simple shapes) and presenting staff with a mixture of cards each with different questions that may be typically asked of learners within that topic. Staff are asked to arrange the cards in such a way so that they represent a development of learning from the fundamental skills to the more complex. Staff are then asked to consider the learning journey and in particular the conceptual development as well as the procedural development the learners undertake from moving from the simpest question to the most complex.

The ensuing discussions revolve around how we as teachers can guide rather than instruct learners along this "journey", with particular focus on small but clear steps of progression. Once one topic has been addressed teachers can then be asked to create their own sets of cards for a new topic, which adds a further element to the process.

Exemplar sort cards

Addition : these are an example of cards that illustrate concepts

Areas of triangles : these are an example of cards that illustrate questions

Once a group of colleagues has done this a few times, it can be enough to start introducing just challenging questions and ask them to consider, What do learners need to get to this point where they are able to attempt this type of question? This can form the basis of the S-plan style of collaborative discussion.


This method addresses a theme - often a national curriculum statement and aims to strip it down into smaller steps by which teachers can refelect on the strategies to move learners along the "learning journey" of these small steps. Once the steps have been identified teachers can focus on how best learners can master the conceptual & procedural skills and knowledge of each one in turn.

If colleagues which to save time on identifying these steps they may wish to use the resource created by GLOW Maths Hub (which also includes some White Rose Maths Hub material) namely MathsNAV (a Sat Nav for Maths!) By selecting an appropriate topic there are suggested smaller steps that could be placed on the S-plan NB these are suggested steps not pre-scribed

The journey may start with a "hook" and end with a "deeper element" or "problem solving" aspect. A collaborative planning group may also reflect on the prior learning required for learners and focus on these end points as mathematical rich activities for encouraging dialogue with students.


Some schools are preparing for this sort of collaboration by focusing on finding/creating these quality final challenging questions, which can then be shared and discussed.


Sharing questions might help because

  • Questions are a resource that every teacher needs, but teachers can use them in a way that fits with the way they teach. Sharing whole lessons and teaching approaches can give the impression that experienced and successful teachers, who know their classes best and have their own style, are being told what to do.

  • They help teachers see all the possible ways that students need to be able to think about the topic, and make them reflect on what the key ideas are and best to use explanations and examples to build a deep understanding of the topic.

  • They free up teacher time from creating or finding the questions (when this work has already been done by others), and gives them time to concentrate on how to structure a unit of work into small steps that give students the understanding and confidence to tackle harder problems. ‚Äč

Developing a big idea

This involves a much wider discussion about the curriculum as "big" ideas often permeate across a number of traditional topics. Proportion and the concept of multiplication is one example that can be considered. The professional dialogue may begin with considering which aspects or topics in maths this big idea contributes to. Questions that may be considered are; Does the big idea or concept reveal itself explicitly? How is the concept developed over time as learners meet the different topic areas?  What is the focus of learning?

Often the discussions reveal a possible shift in emphasis of the focus of learning in topics linked by a "big idea" from the individual procedures of any one topic towards the conceptual development of the wider understanding which in turn lead to learners making links across the curriculum.

For an example of how a concept may provoke discussion in this way : see Psychobabble blog 1

Enrichment & Enhancement

We love maths because ...
Promoting a positive attitude towards the study of Maths and encouraging young people to study the appropriate Maths for their future studies and careers is a key role for maths hubs. South Yorkshire Maths Hub aims to support teachers and schools to challenge, engage and inspire their students.
There are a number of ways in which colleagues can enhance their pupils' experiences of Maths and and mathematical study and we hope to provide a growing number of ideas and helpful materials to enable this.
Special presentation events
Whether it's hosting a visiting speaker or taking students to a presentation, out of classroom events can inspire young people. There are often a number of opportunities throughout the year for a wide range of ages. SYMH will publicise these and where possible give support and advice to teachers to enable participation.
Competitions & challenges
Year 10 maths feast & Year 9 summer snacks
Senior Team Maths Challenge
Fun maths roadshow
Independent research
Wild Maths
Extra-curricular sessions
Maths & STEM clubs
Royal Institute Masterclasses
University outreach programmes and STEP preparation

Welcome to the South Yorkshire Maths Hub (About Us)


About Us

The South Yorkshure Maths Hub (SYMH) aims to provide support for Mathematics Education development throughout our region. Much of what we do is freely available to all schools and we encourage all colleagues to get in touch if there are further aspects they feel we could be supporting schools with.

Register your email for monthly e-newsletter update and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

Browse this website and get in touch with the work group leader (WGL) for any that interest you!

A new set of work groups will be available in the new academic year and we encourage you to have a look at the relevant pages to find out what's available. As we get more information more details will be added to the web pages but to get the most up to date information emailed directly to you, please consider registering your interest by completing this online form.

To see what opportunities are available in each phase, click on the appropriate links below.

Early Years



Post 16


 Where Are We?

 Here you can see a map of the areas we work in within South Yorkshire;


If you are outside of these borders your area will be within one of the other three hubs serving Yorkshire.  (Click on the links below to access the relevant websites)

West Yorkshire Maths Hub 

Yorkshire Ridings Maths Hub

Yorkshire & Humber Maths Hub


Outside of the Yorkshire Hubs the NCETM have a find your hub tool. Please click here to find yours.

The South Yorkshire Maths Hub (SYMH) aims to work with all schools in the region and encourages not just Maths leaders but all teachers of Maths to engage with the opportunities that are made available. To receive updates and newletters feel free to send your name and school by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also follow us on twitter @SYMathsHub



Maths Hub Lead: Pete Sides : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Teaching for Mastery Lead: Georgina Brown : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


NCETM website
To access content on the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics you will need to register (Free).
Maths Hubs are co-ordinated nationally by the NCETM with each hub also having a strategic board to oversee local activity. The strategic board meets termly and is supported by sub-groups comprised of local strategic and operational partners. 
Strategic Board Members
John Barton (Chair)                               NANAMIC
John Coats SYMH
Simon Dawson Mercia TSA
Terry Dawson MEI
John Pearson NAMA
Bob Sawyer Learn Sheffield
Pete Sides SYMH
David Silvester JMAT
Janet Foster Partners in Learning
Margaret Young NCETM
Sue O’Brien Sheffield IOE
Bryony Black University of Sheffield
Theresa Di’lasio Positive Regard TSA
Alison Burbeary Fusion TSA
Charlotte Land DEBP
Richard Kirtlan North Lindsey College & Doncaster College
Sarah Rockliff LUTSA
Kelly Stafford STEM Ambassador
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Secondary Teaching for Mastery

06-06-2018 Hits:235

Secondary Teaching for Mastery Development Work Group This Work Group is a continuation from the Work Group Secondary Teaching for Mastery Specialist. They will lead a Work Group in the third...

Read more

Y5-8 Continuity

06-06-2018 Hits:202

  Y5-8 Continuity   Overview The project aims to improve communication between teachers of Key Stages 2 and 3 by focusing on Multiplicative Reasoning and the teaching of proportion. Teachers will work together collaboratively...

Read more

Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme

08-02-2018 Hits:1568

  Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme 2019/20 Cohort 4 - Information and Application   Overview Following the success of the secondary Mastery Specialist programme thus far, Maths Hubs, working in conjunction with the NCETM, are now...

Read more


30-12-2014 Hits:315

Click on Sub-Headings for links to information pages;   Y5 - Y8 continuity      Secondary Teaching for Mastery Work Groups    Secondary Mastery Specialist Programme                

Read more


blog button