Secondary Mastery Specialists

These teachers are recruited by the Maths Hub to receive training from NCETM and work together to develop their practice. After a year they then go on to run Work Groups. Information on each of our specialists is below. 

David Connell

David Connell

Secondary Mastery Specialist and Secondary Teaching for Mastery Lead, Loreto Grammar School

I have been teaching mathematics for 23 years. I now know that for the first 20 years of my career, I was teaching it badly. I believed that some children just couldn’t do maths. I would justify not teaching an efficient method that I myself would use because “I’m a good mathematician, but I don’t want to confuse them”. I was driven by the date and content of the next assessment: “You don’t need to know why; you just need to be able to do it”.

Mastery has changed everything and I feel as excited at this point in my career as I did when I was new to the profession. In addition to my role as Second in Department at Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham, I am now a Cohort One Secondary Mastery Specialist and an NCETM PD Lead. I participated in the pilot Secondary Shanghai Exchange in late 2018/early 2019 and am consulting with the DfE on mastery at secondary level.

To say that I have developed professionally more in the last three years than I did in the first twenty is an understatement. I am privileged to have had the training to radically improve my own practice and that of my department. Furthermore, as a Mastery Specialist and Secondary Teaching for Mastery Lead, I am proud to be able to play a role in the work of the hub, helping to develop the teaching of mathematics beyond my own school. Meeting with other Mastery Specialists and teachers, sharing and challenging each other on our own understanding and implementation of mastery is an incredibly valuable form of CPD. I would encourage every maths teacher to engage with their hub and especially with mastery, not just to improve exam results (although I believe it will), but because, as an educator, it is the right thing to do.

Alec Ripsin

Alec Rispin

Secondary Mastery Specialist, Urmston Grammar School

I am passionate about mathematics and the teaching of mathematics. Through the teaching for mastery approach, I hope to show every learner that they are all capable of becoming excellent mathematicians and I want to dispel the notion that some people simply “can’t do maths”. I teach from Years 7 to 13 and feel that a mastery approach can be successfully implemented, with time, to all age ranges. My particular area of interest is the idea of variation. This has been covered in so many guises and I feel it is important to have a blend of approaches in order to maximise learning.

Naomh Mackle

Secondary Mastery Specialist, Moorside High School

I firmly believe that all students are capable of being successful mathematicians and so it is important that they are given the opportunity to do so. As a participant in the Mastery Specialist Programme, I have had time to consider the key components of a mastery approach, trial these in my own teaching, and lead changes within my own department. I have enjoyed developing my own understanding of a variety of teaching approaches and, in particular, the value of using manipulatives. I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with teachers within my own department and beyond to ensure all students are taught in a way that allows them to gain a deep understanding of mathematics and an appreciation of this fascinating subject.

Colin Sharrock

Colin Sharrock

Secondary Mastery Specialist, Wellacre Academy

I am passionate about the benefits of teaching through understanding – enabling our students to have a deeper grasp of mathematical concepts, and to rely less on memorising methods and algorithms. For this reason, the mastery approach had an instant appeal for me. I am looking forward to exploring more aspects of mastery with other colleagues, learning from them, and enjoying the impact that the mastery approach will have on students who may have misunderstood what maths is all about.

Charlotte Cohen

Charlotte Cohen

Assistant Maths Hub Lead (Secondary), Tameside and Secondary Mastery Specialist, Denton Community College

I have been at Denton Community College for 4fouryears and became the Lead of KS3 18 months ago. I am so pleased to have been accepted onto the Mastery Specialist Programme and look forward to sharing it within the department and other schools. I am really lucky to have a supportive department who are all keen to learn more about mastery and to embrace it in their own classrooms. I have also taken on the role of Assistant Maths Hub Lead for Secondary Schools in Tameside, meaning that we will be developing relationships with secondary schools in our area to collaborate and to share good practice even more, and giving all schools the opportunity to improve in whichever areas they need to.