New tests for Primary school pupils

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Education secretary, Nicky Morgan, is backing new policies to encourage pupils to memorise the times tables by the end of primary schooling or face having their school’s leadership replaced.

The policies would see state primary schools in England that repeatedly fail to have a proportion of year-six pupil pass times tables and writing tests be forced to become academies, or have sponsorship replaced if already an academy.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Ms Morgan said: "Giving every child the chance to master the basics and succeed in life is a fundamental duty of any government. It’s the very minimum that a government should do and the very least the public should expect.”

Mrs Morgan told BBC 1's Andrew Marr show: "We have to be ambitious for our young people. If you don't get it right at primary, then it becomes much harder for children to catch up at secondary school."

The proposals would put a new focus on the pass-rate for specific skills tested in sections of Key Stage 2 exams, specifically multiplication and long division, and add new questions on novels that pupils will have been expected to read.

Ms Morgan plans to make times tables a separate section within the maths test.

Russell Hobby, head of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the proposals would be totally counterproductive. He said: “Apparently headteachers will be sacked should any child fail the test. We are all for aiming high but, remember, this is a 45-minute test taken by a young child. Mistakes happen, children feel under the weather or have a bad evening beforehand. This does not mean that teachers are not working as hard as possible.”

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