Children begin to learn about multiplication in Year One by looking at equal groups, which introduces the idea of arrays. They also look at doubling numbers and understand that this is the same as multiplying by 2.
In Year Two, children build on the multiplication facts learnt in Year One and learn that multiplication is commutative. They do this using arrays, seeing the equal rows they saw previously.
In Year Three, children continue using arrays to help them multiply 2-digit numbers and see how they can use related number facts to multiply by multiples of 10. They then start using column method to multiply 2-digit numbers both with and without regrouping.
Building on the knowledge from Year Three, children in Year Four continue using the column method to multiply 2-digit numbers. Alongside the formal method, children partition the 2-digit number into tens and ones so they can clearly see the steps being taken. They also continue multiplying by multiples of 10, this time considering the various ways they can get to the answer. This is then applied to multiplying by multiples of 100.
In Year Five, children move on to multiplying 3-digit and 4-digit numbers by 1-digit. They use the expanded column method to see how how they are multiplying by the ones, tens and hundreds before moving on to the compact method (with regrouping). They build on multiplying by 10 and 100 to start multiplying by 1000. Children also multiply 2-digit numbers by 2-digits. At this stage, the children partition one of the numbers into tens and ones rather than using column method.
When children reach Year Six, they learn how to use the formal column method for long multiplication, which builds on the partitioning learnt in Year Five. Although they are taught this method, children are still encouraged to use other methods which may be more efficient rather than relying solely on this.