Tough new entry test for would-be school teachers

Year 12 pupils during a physics class
Year 12 pupils during a physics class Photo: Press Association

Prospective teachers look set to face tougher tests in English and maths before they are allowed to start training in the profession. The government say changes are needed to raise the status of teaching.

  • From next September, anyone who wants to train as a teacher will have to complete revamped tests
  • A paper on verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning is also due to be introduced in the next few years
  • Calculators will not be allowed and pass marks for the English and maths tests will be raised again

The plans are being recommended by a review group of headteachers which was set up in March.

The current tests are taken towards the end of teacher training, with the latest figures showing that 98% of people pass.

ITV News Political Correspondent, Romilly Weeks, reports

These changes will mean that parents can be confident that we have the best teachers coming into our classrooms. Above all, it will help ensure we raise standards in our schools and close the attainment gap between the rich and poor.


Here is one of the questions from the current numeracy test (calculator allowed):

An ICT teacher compares the cost of building a paper-based ICT portfolio with the cost of using commercial e-portfolio software. The number of pupils on the course is 125. On average each paper-based portfolio includes 75 printed pages. Costs are: printing - 2.5p per page; ring binder - 75p.

The total cost of the e-portfolio software is £250.00 per year. How much money would the school save by using the e-portfolio software? Give your answer to the nearest pound.

(Answer: £78)

Here is one of the questions from the proposed numeracy test:

The cost, £C, of advertising in a newspaper is worked out using the formula: C = 0.4n + 0.75 where n is the number of words in the advertisement.

a) The cost of an advertisement is £11.55. How many words are in the advertisement?

(Answer: 27 words)

b) If I have only £9.00, how many words can I afford?

(Answer: 20 words)

Figures show that rising numbers of trainee teachers are passing the tests on the first attempt:

  • In 2010/11, 30,624 people passed the literacy test on the first go, compared to 29,266 the year before
  • 1,903 people took three or more attempts, down from 2,483 in 2009/10
  • 29,531 candidates passed the numeracy test at the first attempt, up from 29,287 in 2009/10
  • 3,329 took three or more goes, up slightly from 3,313 in 2009/10