Christine Blower said while some schools did carry out “rote learning”, such as singing or speaking the tables, there were other ways for children to learn their times tables.

Forcing primary school children to know their full times tables are unnecessary because they can look up the answers on mobile phones, a teachers’ leader has said.

New tests to examine multiplication skills in every 11 year old are to be trialled as part of the Government’s “war on innumeracy and illiteracy”, ministers said.

However Christine Blower, the leader of the National Union of Teachers, questioned the initiative, pointing out that many children could find the answers on their phones.

Ms Blower said while some schools did carry out “rote learning”, such as singing or speaking the tables, there were other ways for children to learn their times tables.

She told Sky News: “Looking up your times tables is very easy to do. So the other thing we have to do is to make sure that children and young people use the computing ability on their mobile phones so they can get that at their finger tips. Recall is not the only way to make sure you understand mathematical concepts.”

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