National Curriculum and Times Tables

The Department for Education has now released draft outlines for the new 2014 National Curriculum. Hidden away under "Programmes of Study" is the much more detailed framework document (numeracy on p88 onwards) and this is very helpful and detailed (some might say prescriptive). Here we see times tables becoming a central tenet of knowledge to build mathematical skills upon. Specifically:

Year 2: 2s, 5s and 10s (and fluent number bonds to 20)
Year 3: 3s, 4s and 8s
Year 4: 6s, 7s, 9s, 11s, 12s

So there you have it, all year 4s (age 9) should memorise up to their 12 times tables, yet as we demonstrated with our trial of year 5-8 children, there is an error rate of 32%, with the toughest questions answered incorrectly over 60% of the time. In short, whilst we we might like to think times tables are one of those things that all children "get", we actually don't know what children don't know!