Changes to teachers’ professional skills test

The government has announced that it is introducing a new approach to assessing the numeracy and literacy of prospective teachers, which will replace the existing skills tests.

Originally proposed in the teacher recruitment and retention strategy in January, the new approach will allow universities and schools to better identify the individual needs of each trainee and offer them extra support to strengthen their skills where needed.

As such, the current skills tests will be replaced with a new system where trainees will be assured against a set of fundamental maths and English skills by the end of their initial teacher training. A review of the current tests found that they do not provide appropriate assurance of the maths and English skills of teacher trainees.

James Nobel-Rodgers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) and Emma Hollis,executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, said: “UCET and NASBTT wholeheartedly welcome the news that the skills test will be replaced. We know that our members find it ineffective as a measure of literacy and numeracy, and logistically burdensome – not to mention the impact on the candidates themselves. We support the decision to replace it, and look forward to working with the Department of Education and others to design an alternative approach that more accurately reflects the skills that teachers need in today’s classrooms.”

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