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Purpose of Study

Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history's most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.


The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems.

Reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations; and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.

Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.

The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils' understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any information and communication technology (ICT) acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.

Information and communication technology (ICT)

Calculators should not be used as a substitute for good written and mental arithmetic. They should therefore only be introduced near the end of key stage 2 to support pupils' conceptual understanding and exploration of more complex number problems, if written and mental arithmetic are secure. In both primary and secondary schools, teachers should use their judgement about when ICT tools should be used.

Spoken language

The national curriculum for mathematics reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils' development across the whole curriculum - cognitively, socially and linguistically. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their mathematical vocabulary and presenting a mathematical justification, argument or proof. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.

School curriculum

The programmes of study for mathematics are set out year-by-year for key stages 1 and 2. Schools are, however, only required to teach the relevant programme of study by the end of the key stage. Within each key stage, schools therefore have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later than set out in the programme of study. In addition, schools can introduce key stage content during an earlier key stage, if appropriate. All schools are also required to set out their school curriculum for mathematics on a year-by-year basis and make this information available online.

Multiplication times table check

Who will take the Multiplication Tables Check?

All eligible year 4 children who are registered at schools in England will be required to take the check from 2020. This means that current year 4 children do not have to complete the check (unless your child's school has voluntarily registered their school to administer the check in June 2019) but current year 3 children will have to complete the check.

What will be tested in the Multiplication Tables Check?

The check will only assess multiplication facts and not the corresponding division facts. It will test up to 12 × 12. The 1 times table is not included (apart from in practice questions). There will be a particular focus on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables.

How can I help my child prepare for the Multiplication Tables Check?

To help parents prepare their child for the check, there are many recourse that allows the functions of the practice test to be amended, e.g. the time per question, the number of questions and the times tables being practised. This resource can be tailored specifically to your child's ability and needs. If your child is currently in year 2, year 3 or year 4, the resource allows you to familiarise your child with the check format, giving them the confidence they need for the actual check at the end of year 4.

Please see below for helpful links regarding Time tables.