Leading Maths

The essential guide for new and aspiring maths leaders

By: Peter Mattock


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Pages : 143
Size: 234 x 156mm
Format: Paperback
ISBN : 9781785836978
Published: November 2023

Leading Maths: The essential guide for new and aspiring maths leaders by Peter Mattock offers practical guidance and advice on how to approach maths leadership and explores the challenges and rewards that come with this unique role.

Leading maths at any school is a unique challenge and comes with pressures not experienced in many other subject areas. The relatively abstract nature of the subject content, combined with the contrasting societal and parental attitudes to mathematics, can complicate communication and stifle progress. Most pupils and parents will recognise the importance of maths but many feel it’s perfectly acceptable to be “no good” at it. Leading maths in schools is about managing these contradictions and getting the very best out of every teacher and pupil.

Offering a fresh perspective and practical strategies for maths teachers and leaders at any level, Leading Mathsexplores how to make the most of a maths leadership role and manage the daily pressures and demands that come with it. Backed up by specific examples from fifteen years of experience leading maths, Peter Mattock goes on to examine the more long-term, strategic view of maths leadership, including how leaders can work with their teams to develop high quality mathematics teaching and learning for all pupils.

The book covers day-to-day issues that arise when leading maths, in particular results and accountability, as well as difficult situations more generally. It offers useful takeaways at the end of each chapter, with a summary of key points and advice from the chapter. Leading Maths explores how to manage an inspection, developing improvement plans and the appraisal process, before touching on taking maths leadership beyond one specific school and into system leadership.

In addition to Peter’s insight, Leading Maths also contains contributions from other experienced maths practitioners, including Becky Lawrence, Jemma Sherwood, Rhiannon Rainbow and Dave Tushingham. Becky examines some of the specific approaches to leading primary maths, whilst Jemma does the same from her perspective as a maths lead across a large multi-academy trust. Rhiannon and Dave then go on to discuss how to manage significant change from their experience of adapting curriculum and CPD during the COVID pandemic – including the beginnings of their (now famous) book club.

An essential guide for current, new, or aspiring maths leaders.


Picture for author Peter Mattock

Peter Mattock

Peter Mattock has been teaching and leading maths for over 15 years. He is a specialist leader of education (SLE) and an accredited secondary maths professional development lead who regularly presents at conferences across the country. Peter also develops teaching for mastery in the secondary school classroom, having been part of the first cohort of specialists trained in mastery approaches by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).

Read Peter's features in TES:

Why our SLT need to be as accountable to us as we are to them'

The government and Ofsted have cost more people their careers than I can count'

Four ways to make sure maths teachers stay happy (and stay put)'

Take it from the task-master: easy ways to get pupils thinking'

Ten steps to surviving as a new head of department'

Five ways maths teachers can persuade secondary colleagues to embed numeracy'

How to grade questions in the new GCSE system'

Click here to read Peter Mattock’s blog.


  1. Having previously read Peter Mattock’s excellent ‘Conceptual Maths’, I was expecting another text of quality and clarity, and that is what I got. This slim volume of around 150 pages offers a series of chapters covering so many aspects of the role of a subject leader, some of which I wouldn’t even have thought of if I were asked to compile a list.

    The style of the book makes it a useful reference text. It can be read cover to cover, but the clearly labelled sections make it a good book to dip into at different times when different tips are needed. Throughout it offers realistic scenarios for the subject leader, and covers all eventualities with key questions, clear responses and broader advice. As well as offering strategies, Peter explains the purpose and reasoning behind them. This can be useful for the maths leader who is asked those perennial questions by colleagues of ‘Why are we doing this?’, ‘Why are we changing this?’ and so on.

    Each chapter ends with a summary of key points which in themselves can provide a quick info-bite if needed in a hurry, although the chapter sections are generally no longer than a page each, so the book is readily accessible, and I recommend it as a useful handbook for new or aspiring maths leaders.

  2. This book is packed full of helpful advice for a head of maths. Drawing extensively on the author’s personal experience, Leading Maths provides guidance on the day-to-day operational aspects of the role, as well as the more strategic side of department leadership. It features practical research-informed ideas for managing and developing staff, dealing with difficult situations, covering absences, curriculum planning, assessment, recruitment, inspections and much more. This book will be of great value to any new or aspiring maths leader.

  3. Even with 10+ years’ leadership experience this book gave me some insights on how to improve my leadership skills, and probably helped me understand why I had failed to secure some roles in the past! This book has something for everyone, whether you are leading a department, aspiring to have a leadership role, are a line manager for maths or someone who just wants a better understanding of the challenges faced by the leader of maths.

  4. A very useful and informative reference book for new and experienced heads of maths. What Peter Mattock has created is incredible. A definitive insight for leaders in mathematics. The role of a leader in maths is challenging and demanding. This book aims to provide a roadmap to help you focus your attention on areas that will have the biggest impact, as well as giving you helpful ideas on the soft skills that are involved in leading a large team of teachers. I wish I had this book 10 years ago!

  5. Whether you are considering a role in maths leadership, a seasoned leader or looking to go further than leading your department, Leading Maths provides invaluable insight and advice. Chapters deal with a range of relevant issues from organisational aspects to more complex themes around challenges within teams. Although more secondary leaning, advice and suggestions are applicable to primary and Mattock references these where possible. The whole tone of Leading Maths is conversational, clear and allows one to feel supported. Advice is sensible and, because it is based on experiences of Mattock and others via case studies, feels adaptable and actionable for any setting. Overall, Leading Maths is a vital read for anyone in maths leadership.

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