QTS Skills Tests Are Being Scrapped by the Government
Before our founder James Holmes started Mark Mate, he was a primary school teacher. Just like all of you, before he started training he had to complete the QTS skills tests. Under new government plans, the tests are due to be scrapped.
In an obvious move to help the government reach its recruitment targets, the government want to scrap QTS skills tests. Since 2012, 3,500 prospective teachers have failed the tests every year. Just last year, the schools minister Nick Gibb said of the tests:
They reassure parents and school leaders that new teachers can demonstrate a high standard of numeracy and literacy when they enter the classroom.
Instead of QTS testing, the government will look to allow individual training providers to assess candidates’ numeracy and literacy skills. This will be done before accepting them onto a course.
But it is understood the government will instead allow initial teacher training providers to use their own judgment to assess candidates’ numeracy and literacy skills. Emma Hollis, executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Training is clearly in support of the move:
There will be fears that this may be seen as dumbing down the profession, but I think those fears would be misplaced. The majority of providers are already working with trainees to ensure that if there are any gaps, they are filled.
For a long time, training providers have been calling for the tests to be scrapped. Hollis went on to say that the tests were ‘not fit for purpose,’ and that they had faced many issues, such as massive costs and candidates not being able to book appointments to take the tests.
QTS Skills Tests Controversy
This year alone, there has been a tonne of controversy around the tests. In April, the government announced that due to an error on its part, thousands of prospective teachers had been wrongly told they’d failed the tests. Following this, the government offered affected applicants a measly £100 compensation. Because of this, they could now face legal action.
While the DfE have declined to comment on this news, it is understood that they have been talking to candidates, training providers, internal customers and external service organisations about the tests and how the current system could be reformed. It was only last year that the DfE gave a 3 year, £15 million contract to PSI services. We’re not yet sure what will happen to that contract.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders has defended the move to scrap the tests. He believes that candidates having a degree is proof enough of their skills:
There are very significant teacher shortages across the country and we need to do more to encourage recruitment. We should remove any unnecessary hurdles.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think this will help with the recruitment crisis? Or do you think the tests serve a purpose and should be kept? Be sure to let us know in the comments!