There was a time, not so long ago, when calculators were spurned as the handmaid of the lazy maths student.

But according to the latest research, far from hindering young maths pupils, these little magic boxes actually aid them with their arithmetic skills.

Academics for the Education Endowment Foundation also found that when taught properly, calculators can help students become better at problem solving.

Calculators are most useful, they said, when weaved into teaching materials.

Ministers banned the use of calculators in national maths tests for 11-year-olds in England from 2014.

Announcing the move in 2012, the then Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss said this would "reduce the dependency on them in the classroom for the most basic sums".

She added: "All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums."