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Education Secretary: Pupils must recite tables by 11

All schoolchildren in England will be forced to learn their times tables off by heart as well as carry out long division and complex multiplication by the age of 11, the Education Secretary has announced.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan wants primary school pupils to face tough tests on maths and English. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA

Pupils will be expected to pass tough tests before leaving primary school as part of a "war on illiteracy and innumeracy", Nicky Morgan said.

Headteachers who fail to ensure the standards are met face being sacked if the Conservatives are returned to power, she indicated.

As well as demonstrating mathematical skills, pupils will have to pass a writing test by showing they can use "accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar".

In an article for The Sunday Times (£), Ms Morgan outlined plans to make England top of the class in European league tables for English and maths by 2020, as well as in the top five internationally - a significant leap from the current ranking of 23rd.

She said: "We will expect every pupil by the age of 11 to know their times tables off by heart, to perform long division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel.

"They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar. The new tests for 11 year olds we are introducing next year will be strengthened to ensure that every young person is meeting the mark."

Fifa hierarchy need to 'think about their positions'

The Conservative MP for Loughborough has said that those at the top of Fifa's governing body need "to think about their positions," in the wake of corruption claims during 2022 World Cup bidding.

Nicky Morgan MP, told Sky News' Murnaghan show that she "welcomes the investigation and it's right that the spotlight is shown on it".

Nicky Morgan MP does think that those at the top of Fifa should 'think about their positions' Credit: Sky News/Murnaghan

She said: "The Prime Minister as well as Prince William made the case for England to host the World Cup.

"Its quite galling to think that its money that's talking and not the quality of the bid itself."

Asked if Fifa president Sepp Blatter should resign, she said: "Lets get to the bottom of this first. But yes. Clearly those at the top need to think about their positions."


Nicky Morgan 'will report to the PM on women's issues'

A Downing St spokesman has clarified that the new Financial Secretary, Nicky Morgan, will report directly to David Cameron on women's issues, rather than to the new Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid.

The role of minister for women and equalities has been split, with Ms Morgan taking on the women's brief and Mr Javid handling equalities.

She will report directly to the Prime Minister on women's issues. She will have an office as Minister for Women, supported by DCMS staff. But with regard to her responsibilities for women, she will report to the Prime Minister.

Sajid Javid will have the ministerial lead on equalities issues and Nicky Morgan will have the lead on women's issues.

– Prime Minister's spokesman