The Schools White Paper includes a parent pledge to identify children who have fallen behind in English or maths and provide them with support. To help schools support pupils who have fallen behind we have invested £1 billion in 6 million tutoring packages by 2024, re-endowed the Education Endowment Foundation, set aside £55 million for our accelerator fund and introduced a menu of targeted support methods. We are continuing to invest in networks of maths and English hubs to support schools. I was privileged to visit a maths hub in St Marylebone’s C of E School on National Numeracy Day.
I very much welcome Stoke-on-Trent being announced as a prioritised education investment area. Locally, partners have been working hard to drive up standards through an education challenge board. Does my hon. Friend agree that we should welcome that work and that this is the way that we will drive up standards in both English and maths?
I, too, am very pleased that Stoke-on-Trent is a priority education investment area. With such proud and outspoken Members of Parliament, the area is always well-championed in this House. Our approach will look to build on the strong work to date in all those areas, including existing partnerships such as the education challenge board. We will be considering the best ways to do that and ensure that a diverse range of local partners inform our decision making in every priority investment area.
Does my hon. Friend share my view about the importance of children knowing their multiplication tables by heart? Does he therefore welcome the fact that the multiplication tables check for nine-year-olds that takes place next month will, for the first time, show how well-prepared children are for the future demands of the maths curriculum?
Yes, absolutely. I thank my right hon. Friend for his extensive work, when he was Minister of State, to improve maths education, not least through introduction of the multiplication tables check. I assure him that we intend to continue to build on those important reforms. The first statutory administration of the MTC will be in June this year. The digital assessment of year 4 pupils will determine whether pupils can fluently recall their times tables, which is essential for future success in mathematics. Where the check identifies pupils who need extra support, schools will provide that.