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Times-tables check ‘an enormous waste of money’

But Gibb says new assessment for Year 4 children has been 'designed so that it is easy to use for both teachers and pupils'

school funding cuts, mental health, CAMHS, funding cuts,

But Gibb says new assessment for Year 4 children has been 'designed so that it is easy to use for both teachers and pupils'

The government’s times-tables check has been branded “an enormous waste of money” on the day the DfE released details of the assessment.

The check, which will be sat by Year 4 pupils, will prioritise the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables, and give children six seconds to answer each question.

The online, on-screen assessment is voluntary this year before becoming statutory in 2019-20.

However, headteachers today warned that it would not tell teachers, parents or children anything they don’t already know.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said: “Children and teachers will have time taken away from their teaching and learning to take and administer these tests and the results will be used by Ofsted to hold schools to account.

“If the government truly meant this to be a low-stakes check to inform teaching they wouldn’t be using the data from it at all for accountability purposes.

“Not to mention, it is an enormous waste of money. It has been estimated that the times-tables check will cost more than £5 million.

“At a time of financial crisis in schools, this is money that could well be spent elsewhere.”

The times-tables check was heralded in the last two Conservative manifestos, which stated: “We will expect every 11-year-old to know their times tables off by heart.”

And last September, the government said that it would introduce a multiplication tables check in Year 4 to aid children’s fluency in maths from 2019-20.

Today, school standards minister Nick Gibb said: “Leaving primary school with a fundamental grasp of basic numeracy is as important as leaving being able to read.

"And just as the phonics check has helped more children learn to read, this will ensure more pupils know their times tables.

“The check has been designed so that it is easy to use for both teachers and pupils as most schools already do some kind of multiplication check anyway.”

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