Multiplication tables check: development update

Information for primary schools and other interested parties about the development of an online times tables check to be administered by schools to year 4 pupils from the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards.


From the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards, schools in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils.

We will conduct a national voluntary pilot between 10 June and 28 June 2019, to allow schools to familiarise themselves with the check before it becomes statutory in June 2020.

The national curriculum specifies that pupils should be taught to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12x12 by the end of year 4.

The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.

Schools will have a 3-week window to administer the MTC. Teachers will have the flexibility to administer the check to individual pupils, small groups or the whole class at the same time.

MTC development process

As part of the development of the check, we have conducted a series of trials in schools.

We will use the results of the trials to inform the construction of different versions of the MTC (the questions pupils will answer), determine the timing of questions and ensure the system works for users and records data accurately.

Once this analysis is complete, we will publish an assessment framework for MTC during the 2018 to 2019 academic year.

Although the trial series is complete, user research with school staff and pupils continues. We are currently finalising access arrangements and developing features that will make the MTC as accessible as possible.

How schools can get involved

If you would like your school to participate in the next phase of the user research programme please email

We are particularly interested in:

  • schools with significant numbers of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities
  • staff involved in administering national curriculum assessments in schools that may have IT accessibility needs – for example staff that may use screen readers or magnifiers to read text on screen
  • schools with broadband concerns – for example slow or intermittent access to the internet


For questions about the MTC, or to volunteer to participate in further user research, please contact

Published 14 February 2018
Last updated 9 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated after the completion of the 2018 trials
  2. First published.