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Royal Institution Primary Maths Masterclasses

Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses are free hands-on and interactive extracurricular sessions led by talented teachers and industry leaders for school students all around the UK.

The Ri originally ran Secondary Mathematics Masterclasses for students aged between 12 and 14 and they have since extended the programme to provide Mathematics Masterclasses for primary aged pupils

The unique sessions, designed and delivered by Highgate teachers in collaboration with the Royal Institution, go beyond the school curriculum to introduce children to problem solving skills through the work of history’s most famous mathematicians.

We work with numerous primary schools across Haringey, Camden and Islington, including Highgate Primary School, St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School, St. Michael's CofE School (N6), St. Michael's CofE Primary School (N22), Crowland School, Holy Trinity CE Primary, Seven Sisters Primary School, St. Ann's CE Primary, St Paul's and all Hallows Primary School, Stamford Hill Primary School and Tiverton Primary School.


The aims of the project are to provide exciting and challenging maths masterclasses for children in local state schools. Additionally, during some masterclass series, staff are encouraged to attend as a CPD opportunity to embed the teaching practices in their own schools.

In addition to these central aims, the project will also look to achieve the following:

 - Pupils will look forward to and enjoy tackling interesting maths during the sessions.

 - Pupils will develop in their ability to reason and explain mathematically.

 - Pupils will become more aware of mathematics outside the normal KS2 curriculum.

 - Positive partnership will be fostered between different schools (staff & pupils).

Identified Need

It had been fed back to us by our partner schools that it is difficult to provide genuine Mathematics enrichment to high-attaining pupils in KS2.
Both Highgate and the Royal Institution have a long history of working with primary schools to deliver high-level masterclasses.

Critical Success Factors (CSF)

There is a substantial administrative element to the project, including the recruitment of a number of pupils from a wide range of schools. To facilitate this, close ties to subject leaders and Heads in local primary schools is key.

Availability of maths teachers to deliver the sessions. This teacher / these teachers must be available to deliver these sessions for around 2 periods per week, and, should no administrative support be available, have additional time to complete these tasks.


The immediate beneficiaries are the pupils who attend the masterclasses, developing a deeper understanding of and excitement for maths.

In addition, pupils from all participating schools, including those from Highgate, get the opportunity to meet like-minded peers and enjoy the study of mathematics while making new friends.

Positive partnerships are fostered during the sharing of best practice between lead teachers from Highgate and visiting staff. The CPD element is delivered in the hope that the techniques and content introduced in these sessions will be replicated in our partner schools.  


The project came about through discussions between the partnership lead within the Mathematics department and subject leaders in local schools, who communicated a difficulty in providing genuine enrichment in Mathematics for high-attaining pupils.

The collaboration came about through experience working with the Royal Institution in previous projects and their proven track record in working with state schools.


The use of a suitably-sized space for the masterclasses to take place in. Lesson plans for each session. Someone to prepare the resources for each session. Someone to liaise with the primary schools to organise the pupils attending.

Sessions can either be hosted by the independent school or by a partner primary school keen to act as a host. Currently, partner primaries are hosts for the first two terms and Highgate hosts the final series of the year.

It requires around two members of teaching staff to facilitate the sessions. An additional member of staff is responsible for logistics and general administration. The sessions last 90 minutes and each series is made of up six sessions. One series is run per term.

There is no financial contribution other than the salaries of staff, for whom this activity is a timetabled project.


There is not currently any assessment of the activity carried out.

We are working towards ensuring qualitative and quantitative assessment. Testimonial feedback describes an increased enthusiasm for maths and, in cases where children are chosen for this reason, attainment in KS2 lessons improves.

Pupil Involvement

One group of four pupils attend from the independent school, and around 28-36 come from state primary schools, with each school sending 4 pupils. All pupils are in Year 5.


This activity is on-going. It happens every term, on the three weeks either side of half term. Each term, a new cohort of schools and pupils attends as the sessions repeat. The same schools can attend, but with different pupils.