Multiplication tables check: development update

Information for primary schools about the development of an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to be administered by schools to year 4 pupils from the 2019/20 academic year onwards.

From the 2019/20 academic year onwards, all state-funded maintained schools and academies (including free schools) in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils.

The national curriculum specifies that pupils should be taught to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 × 12 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 a whole class at the same time.

MTC general information video

National voluntary pilot

A national voluntary pilot of the check will take place between 10 June and 28 June 2019. Schools and pupils are now able to access the MTC system, which includes the pupil ‘try it out’ area, to familiarise themselves with the check so that they are ready for the pilot in June, and before the check becomes mandatory in June 2020.

MTC system and pupil ‘try it out’ area

Schools can use the system to ensure their pupil register is correct and apply any necessary pupil accessibility features in advance of the pilot.

Pupils can use the ‘try it out’ area to familiarise themselves with the check, and ensure that any applied pupil accessibility features work effectively. These will be open to use until 28 June 2019.

Schools with eligible year 4 pupils can access the MTC system via NCA Tools. By default, only NCA Tools super-users will have access to MTC initially, however they will be able to give permissions to other users within their school once logged in.

All year 4 pupils registered at state-funded maintained schools, special schools or academies (including free schools) in England are eligible to participate. Ministry of Defence schools located outside of the United Kingdom that have state-funded year 4 pupils on roll are also eligible to participate.

Use of data from the June 2019 national voluntary pilot

Data from the pilot will only be available to schools that volunteer to take part. Results from the pilot will not be published on Analyse School Performance (ASP) and there will be no national statistical publication or release.

Schools will be able to view their results when:

  • the pilot has finished (Monday 1 July onwards)
  • all their pupils have completed the check or have been marked as ‘not taking the check’
  • the MTC headteacher’s declaration form (HDF) is completed and returned

Schools will be able to use their results to provide additional support to pupils ahead of the 2020 mandatory rollout of the MTC. The Standards and Testing Agency will use the data to ensure that the system is operating as intended.

Guidance and videos

Check administration guidance for the national voluntary pilot is available. It provides details on what you must do if your school intends to participate in the pilot. A step-by-step user guide for the MTC system is also available, along with user guidance videos. The videos provide a step-by-step walkthrough of how to administer the check and the access arrangements that are available.


After using the MTC system, pupil ‘try it out’ area, and after completion of the check, school users are encouraged to leave feedback by completing the usability study survey.

MTC assessment framework

The MTC assessment framework was published on 13 November 2018. It provides details on the assessment specification for the MTC, including the purpose, format, content and cognitive demand of the check.


For queries regarding the MTC, including the 2019 national voluntary pilot, please contact the national curriculum assessments helpline on 0300 303 3013 or email

Published 14 February 2018
Last updated 1 April 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include information about the national voluntary pilot.
  2. Provides an update on progress and provides a link to the new MTC assessment framework
  3. Updated after the completion of the 2018 trials
  4. First published.