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 2019/20 academic year onwards.


From the 2019/20 academic year onwards, schools in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check (MTC) to year 4 pupils.

A national voluntary pilot will take place between 10 June and 28 June 2019. Schools can use this 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 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 national voluntary pilot

The MTC national voluntary pilot will allow schools (with year 4 pupils) to familiarise themselves with the new service. This is before it becomes statutory in the 2019/20 academic year. There is no need to pre-register for the national pilot in this academic year.

From April 2019, schools can use the administration area of the MTC service via NCA tools. This will allow schools to manage their pupil register and apply accessibility features for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, where required.

Pupils will be able to try out the MTC through a familiarisation area. This will allow pupils to get used to the check and understand the accessibility features if they require them.

The check window for the voluntary pilot will be open between 10 June and 28 June 2019. Results for pupils will be available to schools once all pupils on their register have taken the check and the check window has closed.

MTC assessment framework

The MTC assessment framework is now available. It provides details on the assessment specification for the MTC, including the purpose, format, content and cognitive demand of the check.


For questions about the MTC please contact

Published 14 February 2018
Last updated 13 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Provides an update on progress and provides a link to the new MTC assessment framework
  2. Updated after the completion of the 2018 trials
  3. First published.