Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check Announced

Games help learning primary class

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There is no doubt that it is extremely functional to have the multiplication tables (aka the times tables) memorised in our daily lives. 5 books, £7 each, you know in a second that it would be £35. The importance of times tables according to the Department for Education, is that it “helps children to solve problems quickly and flexibly, and allows them to tackle more complex mathematics later on in school”. [1]

Since times tables play such an important role in our daily life, the Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced on the 14 of February this year that a select number of schools across the country will start trialing a multiplication tables check from March. He said that “It is important to have an assessment system that continues to drive this improvement. Just as the phonics screening check helps children who are learning to read, the multiplication tables check will help teachers identify those pupils who require extra support. This will ensure that all pupils leave primary school knowing their times tables by heart and able to start secondary school with a secure grasp of fundamental arithmetic as a foundation for mathematics”. [1]

This new test would last no longer than 5 minutes, and it would be similar to the checks that schools are using. Currently it is still on trial, but the Department for Education is planning to make it mandatory in June 2020. [1] So, as we now know that this test is going to be nation-wide, one simple and obvious task now is to make sure that students can answer questions fast and accurate.

When I was in China, the way we learned times tables was very traditional which is, according to my primary maths teacher, “just memorise it”. Every maths class throughout year 3(or 4), you could hear students chanting “one one get one, one two get two, one three get three…”. It sounds boring and not at all efficient, however it is a perfect example for an old English saying: practise makes perfect. By saying it repeatedly, Chinese students would be able to solve multiplications problems very fast and don’t even need to think.

It is absolutely not smart to directly copy the Chinese way of learning times tables, but we can now be sure that practise does make perfect. So, what are the best ways to practise smartly and efficiently?

First of all, you can buy times tables worksheets. There are thousands of different types of worksheets in the market right now and it would not be hard at all to find something for students. However, buying all those worksheets would not only cost a fortune, but also cost a lot of time marking them. Also, children don’t want to sit tight and do maths problems over and over again. They want something fun, something that can catch their attention for as long as it can, something like a game. And most importantly, we want to see real progress and real improvements within the students which can help them pass the upcoming national test easily.

Although it sounds really hard to solve all the problems I just mentioned, there is actually one simple and easy way to get them sorted—Times Tables with Emile. This game would be the perfect choice to solve any problem you(as a teacher or a parent) or your kids might have. Tired of finding and marking all the worksheets online? Emile can automatically mark them for you. A result report will be generated for each individual student or the entire class, and you can also see distinct improvement from time to time. Give it a try, and sit back enjoy the time Emile saved you.

[1]Department for Education, “Multiplication Tables Check Trials to Begin in Schools.” GOV.UK, 14 Feb. 2018,

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