Pupils as young as seven years attending Aspire Tuition at Basepoint Business Centre were thrilled recently to receive their Times-table Champions Awards in the presence of Swindon MPs Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson.
Aspire Director of Education David Parkinson said, “to win an award the children needed to answer 12 times-tables correctly in 30 seconds. They were all very keen to succeed. Many teachers believe that knowing tables are an essential building block for mathematics, and thorough knowledge of them improves a child’s general ability and understanding of maths. “Unfortunately modern teaching methods shy away from rote learning of times-tables, which can cause problems later on,” said David.
“At Aspire we use various tutoring methods including computers to help the children build up their speed. A great way to learn tables is to go through them in your head before you go to sleep – then fire questions at yourself, though by the time you get to this stage you’re probably fast asleep anyway.”
Robert Buckland said, “I was a barrister before being elected as an MP and I always found being able to do maths in my head a great way of catching fraudsters out. Being quick with numbers helped me to stay ahead of the bad guys in court on several occasions.”
Since the Key Stage 3 assessments for Year 9 pupils were scrapped in July 2009, many parents are left without any indication of how well their children are achieving towards their GCSEs. In Swindon last year less than 50 per cent of pupils achieved 5 A-C grades at GCSE.
David added, “we offer honest assessments of children in terms of whether they are at the level they should be. This is important information for parents to give them greater choice about how to support their child through the next stages of their education. “Our tuition supplements school to give children confidence and the extra help they might need to grasp specific aspects of the curriculum.”
Pictured, times-table champs with David and Andrea Parkinson, with Robert Buckland MP, centre, and Justin Tomlinson MP, right