This guidance is to help schools prepare to administer the optional multiplication tables check in June 2021.


Introduction of the statutory multiplication tables check (MTC) has been delayed until the 2021/22 academic year. In 2021, schools can choose to administer the MTC to year 4 pupils, between Monday 7 June and Friday 25 June, but there is no requirement to do so.

This guidance is to help schools prepare to administer the check and is designed for the IT support staff who manage the school’s ICT network.

Essential technical requirements

The MTC service is intended for use on modern operating systems (for example, Windows, macOS, iOS*, Android) and is suitable for desktop, laptop and tablet devices. Where pupil devices have restrictions applied to limited trusted websites, you should ensure the following are accessible.

*The MTC will not work on iOS8, or earlier, due to the age and limitations of this technology. If your iPad still uses an older operating system, we recommend updating to the latest operating system available.


School staff will access the administration application via DfE Sign-in: Once authenticated, this will redirect users to:

Pupils will access the try it out check and official check at:

Further information on when pupils can access the try it out check and official check is included in the 2021 key stage 2: assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA).

Supporting services

Once a pupil starts the check on their device using the application needs to communicate with the following services:

For both school and pupil applications:

  • *—for Microsoft Telemetry (mandatory to support users)
  • administrators should enable the school network and internet browser to communicate securely over the ‘TLS 1.2’ protocol and ensure secure browsing over HTTPS is permitted (by default, this takes place on port 443)

For the school administration application: *—for Google analytics (optional, this can be switched on or off in the cookie policy by school users).

Recommended browsers

The MTC has been designed to support all common browsers, such as Internet Explorer 11, Edge, Chrome, Brave, Safari, Firefox and Opera. Other browsers may also work with the MTC, but we suggest you use the try it out check to ensure the service can communicate with the supporting services listed above. We recommend that you update your chosen browser to the latest version*, before pupils take the MTC.

*The MTC will not work on Internet Explorer 10, or earlier, due to the age and limitations of this technology. If your device still uses one of these browsers, we recommend updating to Internet Explorer 11 or one of the other recommended browsers that are free to download.

Using the audio version of the check (question reader)

Check administrators can enable an audio version of the check as an access arrangement to meet a pupil’s needs. This has been specifically designed to be compatible with the timing of the questions, as the pupil application is not compatible with third party screen readers. However, the MTC audio will not work on any version of Internet Explorer or old versions of Microsoft Edge (before version 14), due to the technical limitations of these browsers.

New browsers may also offer text-to-speech services that are an inbuilt option or downloadable extension. These services should be switched off or disabled to ensure they do not disrupt the pupil’s check.

Other recommended actions

School staff may wish to complete the activities below to ensure all pupil devices are prepared for the check and to minimise the risk of disruption.

Are your devices safe and ready to use?

You should ensure that:

  • all devices and hardware with a battery are fully charged
  • all devices are tested for any issues (for example, slow running or missing keys on the keyboard)
  • all devices are safe to use, with no exposed wires
  • all devices are kept out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating
  • you have disabled standby or hibernate mode
  • if the device requires a mouse, it is tested to make sure it is fully charged and functioning with the device
  • if using a keyboard with a number pad, the number lock is switched on
  • if using an audio version of the check, headphones are tested to make sure the sound is at an appropriate level for the pupil

Is your operating system up to date?

You should ensure the device has been recently updated and has no scheduled or automatic updates on the day of the check.

Is your internet working?

You should ensure internet connectivity is working and stable on the day of the check.

Is your internet browser ready to use?

You should:

  • close any unnecessary tabs on the browser, and any other applications being used by the device, before starting the MTC
  • ensure the browser is not in privacy (incognito) mode
  • ensure cookies are enabled

Further assistance

For further IT assistance, you can email the national curriculum assessments helpline at [email protected].

Published 3 December 2020 Contents