What children need to know



Multiplication: Handy hints for Parents

Multiplication in primary school

Children's multiplication skills are built up through their time at primary school as follows.

Be aware that in the academic year 2014-2015, children in Years 2 and 6 will continue to follow the old national curriculum, while those in other years move to the new curriculum. From September 2015, children in Years 2 and 6 will also follow the new curriculum.

Year 1

  • Count on or back in ones, twos, fives and tens.
  • Solve one-step problems involving multiplication using objects and arrays with the support of the teacher.

Here is an example of an array to demonstrate 5 x 3 or 3 x 5:

Year 2

  • Recall multiplication facts for the 2, 5 and 10 times tables and related division facts.
  • Use repeated addition (representing 4 lots of 3 as 3 + 3 + 3 + 3) and arrays to work out multiplication questions.
  • Recognise multiples of 2, 5 and 10.
  • Use the x and = signs when writing multiplication number sentences.
  • Solve problems involving multiplication using objects and arrays (see diagram above).

Year 3

  • Recall multiplication facts for the 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 times tables and the corresponding division facts.
  • Use written methods to multiply two-digit numbers by one-digit numbers (for example: 13 x 4).

Year 4

  • Recall multiplication facts up to 12 x 12 and corresponding division facts.
  • Recognise and use factor
  • Multiply two-digit and three-digit numbers by a one-digit number using a formal written layout.

Year 5

  • Identify multiples and factors.
  • Recogniseprime numbers have only two factors and identify prime numbers less than 100.
  • Understandsquare and cubed 
  • Multiply numbers up to four digits by a one-digit or two-digit number using formal methods, including long multiplication.

As you can see from the above objectives, children do not need to multiply two-digit numbers by three-digit numbers until Year 6, so the long multiplication method would probably not be taught until then (although able Year 5 children may use it as well).

Year 6

  • Multiply numbers up to four digits by a two-digit number using long multiplication.
  • Identify common factors, common multiples and prime numbers.
  • Multiply one-digit numbers with up to two decimal places by whole number.


Long Multiplication.

The key to success to NOT to confuse the carried numbers with the original numbers



Long division is set out in the following way.

When do children learn to use different division methods?

Children start learning about division in Year 1, where they may be asked to share an even number of objects between two people. 

They start learning their times tables in Year 2, at which time they also learn their division facts (for example, they learn that if 4 x 5 = 20, then 20 ÷ 5 = 4). 

They continue to learn the rest of their times tables, including division facts through Year 3 and Year 4. 

In Year 5 they will learn to divide three-digit and four-digit numbers by a one-digit number using short division(this is also known as the 'bus stop' method). They then move onto dividing larger numbers by two-digit numbers using long division, as shown above. 

Teachers formerly used to teach children the method of chunking, however under the 2014 curriculum they are advised to use short division and long division.

Using division techniques in maths

It is very important that children are taught division in the context of problem-solving.

In Year 2 they may be asked to solve a word problem like this one:
I have 20 sweets. I share them between 4 people. How many sweets do they have each?
They may be encouraged to use counters to share out the 'sweets', but will be guided to move towards using their knowledge of division facts to work out this problem.

Children in Year 3 and 4 will answer questions using more difficult times tables, such as:
There are 42 children in a playground. They are divided into 6 groups, with an equal number of children in each. How many children are in each group?

In Year 5 and 6, they may be asked questions like:
There are 564 beads in a jar. They need to be divided equally into six small jars. How many beads will be in each jar?
I buy 23 cakes, each costing the same amount. The total comes to £11.04. How much does each cake cost?

It is really imperative that children get their heads around division in the context of their times tables, before they can go onto dividing bigger numbers. You can really help your child at home by asking them plenty of mental division questions in relation to their times tables.

It is also important that, in later KS2, they learn to divide numbers by 10 and 100 confidently and efficiently.


Useful Websites for Assessment Materials

To find out more, please make contact with your child's teacher