Bids for ‘multiplication check’ times-tables tests due

Contractors wishing to deliver the government’s planned “multiplication check” for primary children must get their bids in by the end of next week.

The first online times-tables tests for 10 and 11-year-olds, a manifesto commitment made by the Conservatives before the general election last year, are due to begin in May next year.

In an article for The Sunday Times, Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, wrote that every pupil would be expected “to know their times-tables off by heart, to perform long-division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel. They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar.”

The paper also reported that senior leaders failing to get 100 per cent of pupils to pass the tests for two years running faced being replaced.

A contract notice for bidders states the tests will be “focused on 1-12 times-tables”. Their length and timing is “still to be decided following a wider consultation”.

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    • It’s so the Government can say they’ve injected more ‘rigour’ into the curriculum. And what’s wrong with a multiplication square for those of us who struggle with remembering tables by heart (didn’t stop me passing O level Maths, though, without a calculator)?

    • Penny Topsom

      Hello, I teach up to 15 times as it makes more sense and is actually easier to learn espcially the odd times tables but that’s just my opinion never once had a child complain only a teacher!
      Oh forgot to add not only am I very dyslexic but Dyscalculic also we all learn differently and banging out answers whilst being timed helps no one, but to be able to understand how they work together with division and how to use the tables to help with maths surely that’s what you want.But hey what would I know like anyone from the government ever listens to left field thinkers!

    • It’s a shame Government policy is guided by ill advised gimmicks rather than effective research and practice. Most mathematicians understand that maths is based on logic, reasoning and playing with numbers. To reduce maths to the rota learning of some facts and algorithms punishes another generation of learners and reinforces why the UK perform so poorly in international comparison tables. For more information follow the work of Boaler, Carpenter, Fenemma and Jacobs for a few. Shame on Morgan

  1. Chris Kamin

    “to know their times-tables off by heart, to perform long-division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel. They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar.”
    If this is all Morgan wants, I am truly wondering if this government actually really understands the true purpose of Primary education. Can she not see the detrimental effect that over twenty years of primary schools teaching to the tests have had? Just look at the ever-increasing number of young families that do not know how society works and worse, do not know how to raise the next generation to be ‘school ready’.
    A distinct lack of brilliant teaching due to an ever expanding governmental numbers games and tedious box ticking exercises.
    Let us teach our children to be outstanding humans first.

  2. Karen

    100% of children?

    So one of 2 things will happen – Leaders will move through schools on a conveyor belt as they get moved on every 2 years or everyone cheats!

    What won’t happen is children having a depth of understanding for their multiplication tables.

  3. Louise

    Surely all schools will end up replacing their head every two years as there are some children who just can not work with numbers and will never get 100% in a multiplication test at 10/11 years old! Ridiculous standards once again. Nicky Morgan needs to come into all schools and see what real children are like! So much for fun learning.

    • David Robinson


      We withdrew our child from this years KS1 Sats, when I asked about the KS2 Sats I was told that not all the children have to sit them. If they get upset or are not working to a set standard they aren’t entered.

      Maybe this is what they are planning for this.

    • Penny

      An unrealistic goal if ever there was one …if sequencing and retrieving information ‘on the spot’ is problematic for a dyslexic child (or actually even an adult) learning times tables by rote just will not happen … Maybe she would also advocate that those unfortunate enough to struggle with the ‘method’ (NOT there actual ability to understand and KNOW but by applying strategies ) should be ridiculed by having tables fired at them and when they cannot answer correctly being singled out told they should be ashamed of themselves … I had hoped education would have moved forward in the last 30 years but it seems not

  4. Normski

    Discriminatory against schools who take in sen children or even those who struggle with dyslexic tendencies. These children work really hard but will always struggle with both spelling and numeric patterns.

  5. Marion Sawyer

    some children are of low intelligence or have other emotional needs or disabilities or special needs. School leaders will presumably not want these children in their school! Even “average” children may have difficulties with this. Where is education for EVERY child? I am astounded if this is going to happen

  6. Niamh's mum

    What about the 1.8 million SEND children in mainstream education, many of whom would find this impossible. What about the important lesson that making mistakes is OK? 100% pass rate is never required in any other exam. Heartbreakingly damaging.

  7. Barbara Lenoir

    Unfortunately this government don’t believe in individuality. They want a nation of robots who act and think the same. Not all children can learn by memorizing facts, not all those who can understand them. Until people realise that a government should work for its people who should stand against idiotic policies then nothing will change.

  8. Nicky needs to visit schools and see that children are not little performing robots. Also, good luck with replacing the headteachers of most schools every two year!! what a knob!!!

  9. Dianne Hughes

    Once again, children are being pigeonholed and teachers are being held responsible for all their outcomes. When will any government realise that NOT ALL CHILDREN ARE THE SAME!!! How ridiculously stupid to believe that every child has the same ability at the same age. Some children walk at 11 months, some several months later – are the later ones failures? Any consideration for SEN children? No wonder we are so far down the table. When will they realise that adding more stress to our children does not improve their levels!,,

  10. Anthony

    Completely agree there is a need for tables to be learned, I teach GCSE in a college and some of my students don’t know their basic tables. The way this is being implemented is disgusting. Some students with SEN will never be able to recall these facts no matter how many times it is repeated as they don’t learn in this way.

  11. Pam Jones

    I think Nicky Morgan needs to spend ag week teaching in an ordinary school with ‘mixed ability’ children. Then Ms Morgan might just begin to understand the true complexity of teaching and learning!

  12. Deirdre

    Whilst I am not against children learning their tables and knowing how to apply them I am totally against the test being done online and against the clock as so many children get so flustered and end up with a very poor result!!!!

  13. Absolutely agree with all the comments especially those regarding SEN children. As a teaching SENCO I can think of many who will not contribute to the “1oo%” target in primary. Some may get there in secondary, some never will. And…its a pointless argument to suggest that those who wont are already statemented or EHCP’d because , as we all know, that just isnt true! Frustrated…doesnt begin to cover it!!

  14. Alan Pengelly

    How much easier my life has been knowing the answer to the multiplication of any two numbers between 1 and 12 almost without thinking.

    How much harder for all those that were betrayed by the lowering of standards for year after year until many were illiterate and/or innumerate.

    Something had to change, surely.