Tes focus on… Times tables

What is the best way to teach times tables? To answer that, we may want to look at the work of the Babylonians. Around 4,000 years ago, they were using multiplication grids regularly, so must have had an in-depth understanding of teaching such a skill.

Unfortunately, they didn’t leave us much in the way of a manual on how best to use their method – or any other – to teach multiples.

Which is a shame, because such information might have prevented some long-standing arguments. Times tables are widely viewed as one of the foundation stones of primary maths, and since their assessment through a standardised test began in 2018, the best way of teaching them has been even more of a topic of conversation in staffrooms.

The multiplication tables check (MTC) aims to determine whether pupils can recall their two to 12 times tables “fluently”. The 25-question test for nine-year-olds gives

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