My son has just sat his GCSE maths aural - a mental arithmetic test which now counts for 10 per cent of the final mark - and he felt that it didn't go well.
This was not surprising since he has had very little practice throughout his school career, particularly at primary school where learning tables was, at worst, discouraged, and at best, done without any consistency or rigour.
When I questioned a teacher I was told that they were not allowed to teach tables by rote.
Surely, multiplication tables are a vital building block in al mathematics and to deny children this basic tool is to prejudice their chances in their later exams and, consequently, their choice of careers.
BARBARA CHILDS 5 Talbot Terrace Lewes, East Sussex