Commenting on the multiplication tables check assessment framework published today, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “As the DfE itself recognises, schools already teach and regularly assess children’s times tables ability. Having a strong grasp of times tables is clearly an important part of mathematical understanding and you would be hard pushed to find a school where times tables are not already taught.
“An extra national test isn’t going to tell teachers, parents or children anything they don’t already know, and it won’t improve times tables knowledge. The government have said it is not supposed to be a diagnostic tool. Which begs the questions, what is it for? This test is for the government, not for children.
“Let’s be honest, in reality this is just another test for primary school children. Calling it a check doesn’t change this. Children and teachers will still 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.”
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