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West Wycombe School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Cracking Times Tables

Cracking Times Tables


Cracking Times Tables is an innovative scheme designed to support high standards in mathematics. It is:

  • Highly motivating for pupils - children progress through 23 levels, receiving a certificate for each level.
  • Successful - Children are motivated to progress quickly through the scheme. The introduction of Cracking Times Tables has transformed the standards in this area of the curriculum.
  • Enjoyed by Parents - Parents are enthusiastic because the scheme motivates their children and lets parents know exactly at what level they are performing.
  • Why set times tables?

When children undertake number work, they are encouraged to understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’. Children are encouraged to explain their calculation strategies and how they have arrived at any particular result. They are encouraged to use methods that suit them as long as they are grounded in good mathematics. Some children prefer visual methods such as counting objects, using number lines or drawing patterns – others prefer a more abstract method such as column addition or subtraction.

Children are prompted to make decisions about how they might attempt a calculation – is this a calculation that they can do mentally, will they require a pencil and paper or would a calculator be appropriate?

Either way, as children progress in their mathematical understanding, they work towards more efficient methods that enable them to establish correct results quickly.

Times tables (as well as addition, subtraction and division facts) are the building blocks for many more complicated calculations so it is therefore very helpful if these can be learnt as facts as apposed to calculations. Once children understand that multiplication is repeated addition (3 X 4 = 4 + 4 + 4), they are then ready to learn the times tables as facts. This makes larger calculations and problem solving a much quicker and more efficient process.

Children are expected to work towards knowing all the times tables from 2 through to 12. Children are not required, in the first instance, to learn facts to 12. Many of us will have learned the 11 and 12 times table, primarily because before decimalisation, the 12 times table was crucial for calculating money problems – this practice continued for many years following decimalisation. Children are now taught that any large multiplication calculation can be achieved by breaking down the numbers (partitioning) and relating the calculation to facts that they know. For example, 12 X 5 is the same as 10 X 5 added to 2 X 5.

That said, if a child knows their times tables to 12 very well, there is no harm in them going on to learn their 13s, 14s or other tables for the challenge. For this reason, we have introduced the Cracking Times Tables Extension Levels which follow Level 10. Click below for the practice tests.

Page last updated: 29/09/23