Helen Drury

Founder and Executive Director of Mathematics Mastery


How can we develop a love and deep understanding of mathematics?

There’s a risk that maths educationalists spend so much time debating the relative importance of fluency, deep understanding and problem solving that they neglect a more practical and pressing question: ‘What can teachers realistically do to support students in achieving these?”

In this session I will draw on theory, research evidence and classroom experience to argue that there are certain activities that all learners can benefit from engaging with to deepen their understanding and improve their achievement in maths.

The three ‘dimensions of depth’ we will explore are:
• Deepening conceptual understanding through using and making connections between concepts, and between physical, diagrammatic and symbolic representations (including those that are computer-supported).
• Encouraging pupils to think like mathematicians, through giving them opportunities to seek patterns and rules, and to ask and answer mathematical questions.
• Developing pupils’ communication, through explicitly teaching students to discuss mathematics in grammatically correct full sentences with accurate terminology.


Helen Drury is the founder of Mathematics Mastery, a charity dedicated to transforming achievement in maths. Mathematics Mastery works in partnership with nearly 500 primary and secondary schools across the UK to bring evidence-informed approaches to the classroom. Previously Director of Mathematics for the UK academy network Ark Schools, Helen holds a PhD in mathematics education. She is an experienced teacher and government advisor on mathematics curriculum and assessment.