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Conservatives pledge to ringfence state school funding

Conservatives will ringfence spending per pupil at state schools in England if they win the general election, David Cameron has announced.

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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."

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