Mastery & Greater Depth

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What is Mastery and Depth of Learning?


Using the previous method of assessing pupils using levels, children who were exceeding a particular level would have moved up into the next level band, studying the next year group’s objectives. The DfE now require children who are exceeding their year group expectations to add more depth and breadth to their learning, and to have more opportunities to develop how they use and apply their skills. They are calling this phase of learning Mastery and Depth.


The new National Curriculum states that all pupils should be able to:

“become fluent in the fundamentals of their learning, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly to problems.

All pupils should be solving problems across every topic – not just the high ability students as an extension task” Conceptual understanding should be developed fully using reasoning activities to learn at greater depth.

“Developing fluence through consolidation not about more of the same”

HMI – Jane Jones

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning model clearly identifies the different stages of knowledge which children can demonstrate their level of understanding.

In order for a child to be considered to be achieving a level of mastery, they will show they can apply their knowledge to tasks designed with creating, evaluating or analysing as an objective.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Model


A child at the higher level of Bloom’s Taxonomy will also be able to explain, reason, generalise and make judgements at the highest level offering ‘proof’


Depth of Understanding Model

Mastery is how skillfully a child can apply their learning. Mastery is not just knowing a fact, but applying that fact in increasingly more demanding situations which show variation in their learning. It is important that children ‘see’ concepts in a variety of ways to create learning depth.


In addition to the mastery level of achievement, we have introduced a system of monitoring a child’s depth of understanding within the year group’s expectations.

This grading ranges from #1- #4.

A child with a depth of learning grading of #1 is able to achieve the objectives at the most basic level and perhaps requires some support.

A child with a depth of learning grading of #2 is able to achieve the objective independently.

A depth of learning grading of #3 is able to achieve the objective and apply their learning to some puzzles and problems.

A child with a depth of learning grading of #4 has shown a sophisticated level of competency and can apply their learning to complex problems, puzzles and hypotheses. Evidence of this must be consistently shown in books.

School pupil tracker categorises these depth of learning grades as such:

Therefore, a more able pupil in Year 5 will be expected to leave that year group with a grading of Year 5 High( meaning they have achieved all of the year group objectives ) with a mastery grade of #3 or grade #4 for exceptionally able pupils.

Thatto Heath Community Primary School

Hobart Street
Thatto Heath
St. Helens
Headteacher: Mrs. Catherine Ireland
Main Contact: Mrs. Lisa Coates
SENDCO: Mrs. Louise McCallion
T: 01744 678710

© 2020 Thatto Heath Community Primary School