# This week’s message (Friday 26 November 2021)

Friday 26 November 2021

This week’s message comes from Paula Allaway, who’s the Maths Leader across Sphere Federation…

Is your child engaging with the number fact fluency homework?

Number fact fluency – the quick recall of addition and subtraction facts, and multiplication and division facts (times tables), is really important for all children. The ability to recall these facts quickly (rather than taking too long working them out) helps children to answer questions in lots of areas of Maths much more easily.

If these facts are learnt and stored, rather than being calculated or counted, they require less activity from the brain. Essentially, memorisation frees up working memory space to allow children to focus on learning new mathematical ideas and applying mathematics to solve problems, and not the facts themselves.

For younger children, the crucial numbers facts are simple addition and subtraction facts. We want children to know facts like bonds of ten (eg 3+7 and 4+6) without having to count on or back using their fingers. How fluent are your child’s number facts? Regularly accessing NumBots will help with this.

Multiplication and division facts

For older children, number facts also includes times tables up to 12 x 12. By the end of Year 4, children should know their times tables without having to count through to reach the answer. Times Tables Rock Stars will help with this. In June 2022, Y4 children will take part in a statutory national assessment – the Multiplication Tables Check. They’ll be tested on 25 randomly selected facts.

Without secure knowledge of times tables facts, many future Maths topics are more difficult to learn. In Y5,6, for example, progress in column methods, fractions, area, ratio and proportion can all be hampered because they involve recall of facts.

Children who do well in our assessments are the children who are spending more time practising on NumBots and Rock Stars. Likewise, the children who need to learn these facts more aren’t using this resource at home.

We know that being fluent with number facts leads to high confidence in maths generally. To support this, we’ve slimmed back what we ask for homework to help make sure our children’s Maths (and also Reading) skills are strong. Your child should spend about 10 minutes practising number facts each day. Look out for the focus on the homework sheet we send home.