Primary school pupils to be checked on times tables before entering secondary school

Eleven-year-olds will be checked on their times tables knowledge along with mandatory Sats tests from the next academic year

Rachael Pells
Education Correspondent
,John Wadsworth
Wednesday 22 February 2017 16:59 GMT
The UK is currently ranked in 27th place for maths, behind Singapore, Taiwan, China and other Asian countries
The UK is currently ranked in 27th place for maths, behind Singapore, Taiwan, China and other Asian countries (Rex)

Children in England will be made to sit a test to check they can pass their times tables before leaving primary school, the Government has announced.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said multiplication was a “very important” part of a child’s mathematical knowledge, and confirmed the move would take place from 2019.

The plan was first proposed under the Conservatives’ election manifesto and announced by former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan in January 2016.

It was put on hold, however, when Justine Greening took over the role, announcing there would be no new national assessments introduced before the 2018-2019 academic year.

Appearing before the House of Commons Education Select Committee on Wednesday, Mr Gibb confirmed the times table check would now go ahead.

He said: “I think it is an issue of policy. It is my view that there should be a multiplication check.

”It was in our manifesto in 2015. We think times tables are a very important part of mathematical knowledge.“

If a child was trying to perform long multiplication or long division they needed to know their times tables, he added.

”It's why it was in our manifesto, it's why we are introducing a multiplication check in 2018-19.“

The check will be taken by Year 6 pupils in the spring of 2019 - the cohort currently in Year 4 - alongside national Sats tests.

The emphasis on times tables comes as part of increased efforts to improve maths teaching in UK schools.

Last summer, Mr Gibb announced half of all primary schools were to adopt the traditional Chinese method of maths teaching, proven to produce good results in Asian schools.

Latest Pisa rankings placed the UK in 27th place for maths – the country’s poorest position since first taking part in Pisa 16 years ago - leaving experts critical of the curriculum's approach towards the subject.

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