Pilgrim Academy children dress up as Times Tables Rock Stars to celebrate the introduction of the interactive Maths website. They are (l-r) Harry Franklin, Charlotte Clark and Zack Arnett.
Tollbar Multi Academy Trust has given its Primary pupils another string to their bow as it gears up for the Government's compulsory introduction of Year 4 Times Tables checks, which come into force this year. The MAT has subscribed to interactive website Times Tables Rock Stars, to promote further development and enjoyment of Maths at its Primary Academies.
In 2020, 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.
At Pilgrim Academy, pupils are already reaping the rewards of logging on to Times Tables Rock Stars, which is also finding favour in many schools across the country.
Andy Clark, Principal of Pilgrim Academy, explained: "Maths is a huge subject and we appreciate that there is more to it than times tables. However, a lot of the rich and interesting Maths is all about the multiplicative relationships, and these are hard to fully grasp without fluent recall of the times tables. For that reason, learning the tables is fundamental as they are a key facilitator to the Maths that sits on top. We have always believed that.
"The National Year 4 checks are all about remembering the multiplication facts. That does not mean we will forget all about the concepts, patterns, structures and relationships in multiplication. We are going to be learning those too, partly because they go hand in hand with excellent recall.
"Times Tables Rock Stars has many aspects to it and will be used in class and, hopefully, at home. There are lots of competitions and ways pupils can earn prizes, such as buying new wigs for their rock star avatar!"
After just one week of using the website pupils, parents and teachers can clearly see the advantages.
Mr Clark continued: "Of the stats we have received after just one week, Pilgrim is ranked 7th out of 26 nearby schools in terms of speed to answer questions correctly. Over half of all pupils have already been on the website. We currently have an 87% average accuracy across all children who have so far used the system to practise their timetables. In our first Battle of the Bands, where two classes compete against each other to see who can get the most questions right, as it stands, after two days, they have managed to correctly answer 30,000 times tables questions between them.
"We are all still getting used to using Times Tables Rock Stars and staff are going through it in more detail with all of our pupils. Each pupil has a user name and password and this is all fully compliant with data protection guidelines. Later this term we will invite parents in for a session to find out more about how Rock Stars works and how their children will benefit from using it."
Times Tables Rock Stars includes fun aspects such as a choice of avatars.