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The National Curriculum does not specify when or whether these algorithms should be taught. The descriptor for performance at Level 5 includes the statement that ‘pupils should be able to multiply and divide a three-digit number by a two-digit number’ and questions on these appear regularly on Key Stage 2 test papers. The Primary National Strategy framework encourages increasing efficiency of methods of calculation for all four operations as pupils progress through the primary years. Some independent schools also make use of Key Stage 2 tests and some focus on Common Entrance Examinations, mainly at age 13. This means there are some significant differences between maintained and some independent schools in the timing and nature of key assessments and the mathematics curricula they assess. A few of the independent schools visited explained that they feel no pressures from Key Stage 2 tests or Common Entrance Examinations because their pupils transfer directly to independent senior schools

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