For most children (and adults), the dream of being a rock star, performing in front of millions on an international stage, will remain a fantasy. But, at one primary school in Leeds, pupils are "rock stars". Specifically, "times table rockstars". And last week, they rocked breakfast television.
It all came about as Parklands Primary School hosted the North of England XTables Rock Wrangle, an event run by Times Table Rockstars in which 150 students aged 9 to 12 competed in a series of heats and head-to-head times tables-offs. When BBC Breakfast decided to cover the event, it rocked up at the school for an interview with headteacher Chris Dyson and his students.
That prompted a mass sleepover at the school so everyone would be ready for filming in the morning.
"The children were sleeping soundly as I welcomed BBC Breakfast at 4.45am to set up for the filming that was to be live from 6am," said Mr Dyson. "The children, blurry eyed, were woken at 5.30am before washing, changing and getting ready to enter the hall at 6am for a briefing."
BBC reporter Tim Muffet broadcast four segments from the school across the morning, with the focus on why times tables are important and on students showcasing their times-tables skills.
Tyler, apparently the quickest in the world at the three times table, was so fast, he had to slow down for us mere mortals.
"As soon as you’ve got your times tables, all the things the government say children struggle with – maths, divisions and fractions – become straightforward easy," Mr Dyson told the BBC. "Five of our fantastic Year 6s last week got full marks in their Sats, 25 of them got full marks in the arithmetic paper."
Times Table Rockstars is the brainchild of Bruno Ready (rock ’n’ roll name – Baz Winter), who developed the programme after winning funding from the SHINE Trust UK (the latest winners of funding were revealed by Tes this week)
"Sixty per cent of the maths syllabus at GCSE can be traced back to multiplication and division. From the pupils' point of view, it’s just practice, it’s just fun. They’re lost in the element of being a rock star," Reddy told the BBC.
As for the students at Parklands, they thoroughly enjoyed their time in the limelight, said Dyson: "The feedback the children have received from around the country has been quite simply amazing… Rock on!"