Guidance on teaching key ideas in secondary mathematics

This project brings together international research in teaching mathematics and uses it to produce guidance for teachers and others interested in mathematics education. The guidance is published in a book and accompanying website, both called Key Ideas in Teaching Mathematics

For each of the ‘key ideas’ identified, the book synthesises the international research literature on how children develop their reasoning, understanding and skills, and on related teaching approaches. Informed by the authors’ own experience, it identifies areas where additional evidence is needed, and provides links to relevant examples and classroom activities, which are brought together on the accompanying website. 

The research team is led by Professor Anne Watson from the University of Oxford, who identified the general lack of accessible research-based writing on teaching secondary mathematics while working on an earlier Nuffield project,  Key Understandings in Mathematics Learning, which focused on how younger children learn mathematics. This project was conceived as a way to address that gap. 

Book and website

Key Ideas in Teaching Mathematics was published by OUP in February 2013. A 20% discount is available if you order your copy from the OUP website before 31 December 2013. Just enter promotional code AAFLY4 at the checkout. 

The book uses QR codes to link to the relevant activities on the website, but the website also serves as a standalone resource, which divides each of the 'key ideas' into several themes, with links to relevant online activities and resources. 

Project details



Professor Anne Watson, University of Oxford, Professor Dave Pratt, Institute of Education, Keith Jones, University of Southampton

Funding programme:


Grant amount and duration:


10 May 2010 - 9 January 2012