More children score full marks in their times tables check

29% of children scored full marks in their Multiplication Table Check in 2023, up from 27% in 2022

Standards in schools continue to rise as more primary aged children are learning their times tables and boosting their future maths skills, new data reveals today (Thursday 23 November).

These results build on this Government’s success in driving up standards in schools. In its second year, the times table national data has shown that more children scored full marks in the check than last year with 29% of eligible pupils in 2023 up from 27% in 2022. Overall attainment rose among all eligible children with an average score of 20 out of 25 marks for those who took the check.

Disadvantaged children also scored higher this year getting on average 18 out of 25 marks, up by +0.4 points on 2022. Both boys and girls scored higher than last year.

The success in this year’s scores follows on from a culmination of reforms introduced since 2010 to drive up standards including changes to the mathematics curriculum, reflecting international best practice from countries such as Singapore and China, and the introduction of a network of Maths Hubs to boost the quality of teaching in schools across the country.

Schools Minister, Damian Hinds said:

“Every stage of school is an opportunity to set children up to succeed and ensure they are learning the skills they need for life.

“Mastering times tables by age 9 will make sure children can tackle more complex maths later on in life as well as help them with everyday adult activities.

“That is why it’s so exciting that these checks show more children are learning their times tables in primary schools alongside our phonics screening check which has seen an increase in results since last year. Together our reforms are driving up standards in our schools hand in hand with the hard work of teachers.”

The multiplication tables check was made compulsory in primary schools from 2022 to help ensure children aged 8 to 9 know their times tables up to 12 off by heart. Pupils knowing their times tables will make more complex mathematics in the future like algebra and long division simpler to process and give children the platform they need to move on to more advanced mental arithmetic.

The multiplication table checks results show:

  • Of pupils who took the check, the average attainment score was 20.2
  • 25 (full marks) was the most common score (29% of eligible pupils achieved this score)
  • London was the highest performing region, with an average score of 21.1
  • South West was the lowest performing region, with an average score of 19.7
  • Over 620,000 students took the check in the summer

The results from the data published today will provide teachers with standardised information to help to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.

The government is driving improvements in maths across the education sector from primary school up to post-18. In 2019, primary pupils achieved their highest ever score in the TIMSS international test, and Ofsted recently found a ‘resounding, positive shift in (primary) mathematics education.’ The Maths Hub’s flagship Teaching for Mastery offer was expanded to 75% of primary schools by 2025, in line with the government’s wider strategy on maths. The mastering number programme, which aims to support children in early primary school master the basics of arithmetic, is also expanding to 8,000 primary schools by 2024.

Last month, the Prime Minister made a huge announcement about the future of post-16 education in England. In an overhaul of the system, the launch of the Advanced British Standard will give young people the skills they need for the future and revolutionise how maths is taught in our schools. Under the new plans, every student will for the first time be required to study some form of maths and English to age 18. This will help reverse the long-term trend whereby too many students – particularly the most disadvantaged – leave school without achieving the minimum standard in literacy and numeracy.

More broadly, standards of education have risen sharply since this government entered office in 2010, with 89% of school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, up from just 68% in 2010. The results published today are another small example of how this government’s long-term reforms are delivering a brighter future for the next generations.

Department for Education
The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP