The Catholic School of St Gregory The Great Believe and Achieve

Times Tables and 99 Club’

Fluency in times tables helps your child access many areas of maths. 
It can:

  • Increase experience of success and therefore confidence, motivation and enjoyment of maths;
  • Free up working memory to allow attention to focus on more complex, less routine problems;
  • Improve engagement and assist understanding in many other areas of maths;
  • Increase ability to spot patterns and relationships in both number and shape.

Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures is essential in order for students to keep track of sub-problems, think strategically and solve problems. 

Although learning tables by rote is the best method for speed and efficiency, accurately reciting the times tables doesn’t necessarily mean children ‘know’ them.  It is therefore crucial that children go deeper and understand what the numbers mean and how to apply their knowledge.  To develop number sense and times table proficiency, children need to be able to ‘see’ the maths in different representations and have the language to describe their own thinking and make connections. Precision in the use of language is important if we are to reach shared understandings so we need to make sure that children know the right vocabulary to use when talking about multiplication. For example, 4 x 6 = 24, 6 x 4 = 24. 4 and 6 are factors of 24 and 24 is a multiple / product of 4 and 6.  

There are many exciting ways to help children make connections when learning their times tables such as:

  • listening and singing to times tables songs 
  • playing games like Fizz Buzz, Tables Bingo etc.
  • Using a variety of real objects to sort and count, e.g. counters, beans, shells
  • Using multiplication number grids and counting sticks (for number sequences and pattern spotting)
  • playing multiplication and division ‘Snap’ type games
  • using flash cards with missing numbers
  • playing with loop cards 
  • using dice games
  • using playing cards, dominoes and darts
  • designing fun mnemonics, e.g. use phrases which sound like numbers (sticky floor = 64, plenty more = 24 etc) 
  • solving real life problems involving multiplication 
  • promoting ‘Personal Best’ multiplication timed races 


Nick Tiley-Nunn in his book, ‘How To Teach Primary Maths’, gives this advice when we are teaching times tables ‘SMASH’

Short and sweet – spend approximately 5 minutes on a times table related activity every day.
Mix it up – ensure that children can recall their multiplication facts forwards, backwards and jumbled up so they can work out related division calculations. 
Arrangement – represent numbers in as many ways as possible (e.g. arrays, patterns)
Stir and stimulate – encourage variety, movement and competition
Hammer away – consistent practise and plenty of repetition to develop resilience and perseverance.

Did you know? There are actually only 21 key facts children need to learn (if they are confident with their 2, 5 and 10 facts) – yes only 21! If they know these 21 facts, they can use the facts to work out other unknown facts. A link to this poster can be found below. 

Year four children are required to sit a Multiplication Times Table Test in June. More information about this test can be found HERE.


The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will help us as a school identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided.

St Greg’s 99 club


Our children like 99 club, are keen to progress and are very excited when they move up through the clubs.  We are very proud that so many of our children become 99 Champions and we have now developed a further series of challenges for these children, called the Multiplication Masters.  There are Bronze, Silver and Gold levels containing both multiplication and division questions of a much deeper nature.  These questions are designed to reveal the patterns, relationships and engine of multiplication and division in a way that just learning the facts off by heart doesn't necessarily do.  It is hoped that this will help the children develop greater flexibility, efficiency and accuracy in their approach to multiplication and division problems.  


More details about 99 club can be found in our parents’ guide below.  You can also see the format of the questions in the example sheets below.