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Teacher training entry requirements: Is three skills tests enough?

Date published: Date modified: 2023-02-17

It is no secret that we are in a nationwide teacher shortage, but why is this? Are students no longer interested in following a career in teaching? Maybe they don’t think it will be fulfilling? Or, are the standards simply too high?

To amend this shortage, the entry requirements for teacher training have been reduced.

The main changes to the requirements include an abolishment of the three-time, two year ‘lock out’ rule which stops students taking the skills tests after failing three times, and test charges will now be incurred after the third attempt rather than the second.

Schools Week estimate that these changes will reopen the eligibility to gain QTS for 9,000-9,500 would-be teachers.

What are people’s reactions?

There are strong arguments either side of the fence for this change; on one hand, schools standard minister Nick Gibb argues:

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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. (Gov.uk, 2018)Supply Quote Breaker.png
This certainly looks to combat concerns surrounding the dilution of the quality of teachers undertaking teaching degrees.

On the other hand, Emma Hollis, executive director of National Association of School-Based Teacher Training (NASBTT), states:  

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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 1 or 2 marks on a test. This move will keep the profession open to those who deserve the opportunity to train to teach. (Gov.uk)Supply Quote Breaker.png

Schools Week reports that senior leaders of secondary schools have taken to Twitter to condemn the move concerned that:

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 [The] “massive crisis” in recruitment, lowering entry requirements “isn’t the answer”“Instead focus on ensuring the profession is attractive and desirable to those who can pass the tests,” (as quoted in Schools Week, 2018)
“Surely if they can’t pass these tests they shouldn’t be teachers? Or [the DfE] are in a state of panic because recruitment is awful, and the only way is to let them take as many tests as they want before they pass!” (as quoted in Schools Week, 2018)Supply Quote Breaker.png

Personally, I believe that exam conditions don’t always reflect intelligence or ability and are often influenced by social and environmental factors and I would like to see an even playing field for teachers and students. If teachers can have unlimited test attempts then shouldn’t our students be afforded the same?

Are you for or against?

I'd be really interested in your opinion. If you’d like to share your thoughts on this change then i'd  love to hear them- Join our Teacher Network Facebook page now!

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By Sean Kelly
SAAF Education 340 110

23 March 2018


Supply & Recruitment

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