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Age 11 pupils to be tested on times tables

04/01/2016 Joanna
Pupils leaving primary school are now expected to know their multiplication tables up to 12x12, according to new government plans. These will be tested using a new on-screen check, which will be piloted across 80 primary schools this summer. If successful, the initiative will be rolled out across the country in 2017.

The tests are intended to tackle the large number of pupils who are starting secondary school without meeting necessary maths grades, and to ensure teachers are focused on key skills. 

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said maths was a non-negotiable aspect of a good education. She stressed that since 2010, record numbers of pupils leaving primary school are showing a good grasp of the three Rs. In 2015, 80 per cent of Year 6 pupils achieved Level 4 in maths, reading and writing, up from 78 per cent in 2014. This new initiative is being implemented to improve this further in the field of mathematics.

The tests will also judge teachers to ensure they are providing students with the best possible education opportunities. Speaking to the Telegraph, Ms Morgan said she intends to hold schools to account for pupils who do not meet the standard.

"They will help teachers recognise those pupils at risk of falling behind and allow us to target those areas where children aren't being given a fair shot to succeed," she said. Any schools that sees pupils consistently failing these tests will then be closely monitored. 

Nick Timothy, of the New Schools Network, said the new computerised tests were an important step in reversing a "tide of underperformance" to ensure pupils have "nailed down the basics before they move on to secondary school".

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