https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/13/education-in-the-media-tuesday-13-february-2018/

Education in the media: Tuesday 13 February 2018

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the professional skills tests for trainee teachers and the Education Secretary’s visit to Stoke-on-Trent.

Professional skills test

Yesterday, Monday 12 February, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced changes to the professional skills test for would-be teachers, following feedback from the teaching profession. This announcement was covered by the I, Independent, TES and Schools Week. The high standard of entry requirements we set for our Initial Teacher Training (ITT) remains unchanged but this announcement is designed to allow aspiring teachers to begin training, and make a difference in the classroom, more quickly.

Prospective teachers are now eligible for three attempts at the professional skills tests, which they must pass to begin Initial Teacher Training (ITT), before they incur any cost. In addition to this, the government has removed the lock-out period that previously prevented candidates from re-taking tests for two years if they had been unsuccessful in two re-sits. The removal of these financial and administrative barriers has been broadly welcomed by the sector and will ensure that we attract the brightest and best to a career in teaching.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Standards are rising, with 1.9million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010 and a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010.

In 2012, the government introduced more rigorous skills tests for teachers to ensure they have the highest standards of English and maths. The bar for entrance to the teaching profession remains as high as ever, as parents and pupils would expect, and this is evidenced by the fact that the quality of new entrants into the profession is at an all-time high, with 19% of this year’s cohort holding a first-class degree.

It is absolutely right that aspiring teachers can begin training as soon as they prove they are ready and these changes - backed by the profession - will help ambitious graduates to join the profession.

Emma Hollis, Executive Director of National Association of School-Based Teacher Training (NASBTT), said:

NASBTT welcomes these changes to the administration of the skills tests. We have seen all too many examples of candidates with excellent potential being locked out of the profession for the sake of one or two marks on a test. This move will keep the profession open to those who deserve the opportunity to train to teach.

James Noble-Rogers, Executive Director of Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), said:

This is a sensible and pragmatic move. It will allow potentially good teachers who would otherwise have been kept out of the profession to begin their training.

In the past good candidates have been prevented from re-taking the skills tests because they failed by just one or two marks, often because of the pressure they experience having reached their final attempt.

Secretary of State visit to Stoke-on-Trent

Yesterday, Monday 12 February, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds visited Sandom Primary Academy as part of his visit to Stoke-on-Trent. He met with pupils and teachers and was shown their learning facilities including the outdoor farm. This was covered by the Stoke Sentinel and was the first day in a three-day tour of the Midlands and North England.

Read the press release about the teacher trainee changes here.