'Scrap teacher skills entry tests' say training providers


Ditching professional skills tests for teachers entering the profession could free up millions of pounds for continuing professional development, it has been claimed.

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, told attendees at an event in London that he welcomed the Government’s move to allow unlimited resits, but suggested, even more could be done.

He proposed that the Government should consider “getting rid of skills tests altogether”, a move that he claimed could free up £15 million for teachers’ continuing professional development.

Mr Noble-Rogers added that the tests are poorly managed and hinted that the tests could be “redundant” given that the majority of initial teacher training have their own entry criteria that test numeracy and literacy levels.

“We already have GCSE entry requirements in maths and English for entry to initial teacher training,” he explained. “If the government has confidence in their own GCSEs then the skills test are redundant.”

The Government moved to allow unlimited resits in the tests, which are a prerequisite to starting teacher training, earlier in February in a bid to encourage more entrants into the profession.

The executive director of the National Association for Schools Based Teacher Training, Emma Hollis, backed the call to remove the tests and to give greater responsibility to training providers.

She claims it will help to ensure that “by the end of the teacher training year they are ready to hit the ground”.

“No teacher educator wants people in front of our children who do not have the basic literacy and numeracy skills that you would expect, and that’s what a year of teacher education is for,” she added.