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Expect every 11-year-old to know their times tables off by heart

We will expect every 11-year-old to know their times tables off by heart.

Our Verdict

In 2012, a national phonics screening check was introduced in primary schools. Building on this, the government has now pledged to introduce similar checks for times tables, the multiplication tables check (MTC).

The School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, has said the multiplication checks will ensure pupils “start secondary school with a secure grasp of fundamental arithmetic”.

In February 2018, the government announced trials of multiplication tables checks for year 4 students in certain schools, with plans to extend them to all schools in June 2019 and for the checks to become mandatory in 2020.

It’s hard to judge a policy like this which is based on an “expectation”, but the planned introduction of the national mandatory MTC is at least evidence of an attempt to move towards meeting the expectation, so we’re marking this as ‘in progress’. We’ll monitor implementation of the checks throughout 2019 and update our verdict as required. Watch this space!

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