Maths and spelling tests for trainee teachers ‘will be scrapped in an attempt to boost numbers of staff’
- Currently trainees must pass national tests before being qualifying as teachers
- At least 3,500 applicants, about 10 per cent, failed them every year since 2012
- Schools minister Nick Gibb has said exams ‘reassure parents and school leaders’
- However, training providers have long been calling for the tests to be scrapped
Standard maths and English tests for trainee teachers are set to be scrapped.
The move is aimed at boosting recruitment – but seems certain to spark fears of dumbing down.
At present, trainees must pass national tests in literacy and numeracy before being awarded Qualified Teacher Status. At least 3,500 applicants – or about 10 per cent – have failed them every year since 2012.
Schools minister Nick Gibb wrote last year that the exams ‘reassure parents and schools leaders’ that teachers ‘can demonstrate a high standard of numeracy and literacy when they enter the classroom’.
At present, trainees must pass national tests in literacy and numeracy before being awarded Qualified Teacher Status (stock image)
Schools minister Nick Gibb (pictured) wrote last year that the exams ‘reassure parents and schools leaders’
However, training providers have long called for the tests to be scrapped. They say they already work with trainees to fill in any gaps in knowledge.
Initially, anyone who failed the tests three times was locked out of training for two years before he or she could retake them – but this limit was removed last February. The Government is now expected to scrap the tests, with training providers allowed to use their own methods to measure skills. This could involve coursework or practical assessments.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of the centre for education and employment research at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘They’re taking away a very important safety check. A national test is different from that led by providers who, to survive financially, are having to fill their places… they will be less likely to test as thoroughly.’
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘We expect graduates entering the profession to have the literacy and numeracy skills that parents and pupils rightly expect… but we’ve heard from both training providers and applicants that the skills tests could be improved upon.
‘That’s why we are working with universities, schools and school leaders to analyse… the most effective way to assess the skills required.’
A spokesman for the Department for Education said is expects ‘graduates entering the profession to have the literacy and numeracy skills that parents and pupils rightly expect’ (the DfE headquarters are pictured)