Shanghai Maths


Shanghai mathematics lessons are based around 5 key aspects

  • Teaching for mastery
  • Calculation practice
  • Lesson design
  • Effective use of textbooks
  • Assessment and feedback

Lessons are concerned with ‘teaching with variation’, so a Shanghai lesson will have conceptual variation and procedural variation. Conceptual variation is concerned with different ways of presenting the information (what the pupils see and use – images, ITPs, die, Dienes apparatus), whereas Procedural variation is concerned with what the pupils do – (say it, write it, order it).

Mathematics lessons in Shanghai are taught in the morning and are 35 minutes long; teachers have time to assess pupils’ work so that intervention can take place at lunchtime for those pupils deemed to need further support.


This page will contain the resources used in lessons for years 1, 2, 4 and 5 that were taught by two Shanghai primary teachers in February and March 2015. These should be here by the end of November 2015.

A BBC2 programme, Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School, broadcast in September 2015 looked at a school which implemented an immersive Chinese (rather than Shanghai) approach to teaching year 9 pupils. At present the programme is not available on iPlayer. The Guardian reviewed the programme.

Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics, Liping Ma: