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Tougher hurdle ‘could deter’ new teachers

09 November 2012

NEW tests for entry to teacher-training courses could rule out applicants who would make successful classroom teachers, say experts in the Cathedrals Group of church-based universities. The Group educates 40 per cent of all student teachers on specialist undergraduate courses, and one in four of those taking postgraduate qualifications.

The Government has announced that, from next year, all prospective teachers will have to pass stiffer literacy and numeracy tests before beginning their studies, with no option to resit the exams during their course, as they can now.

Professor Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, who chairs the Cathedrals Group, said that opinion among members was divided. "None of us would wish to oppose any move to raise standards in the profession; but we already put students through our own robust tests before we accept them for training." There was concern among teacher-trainers that the new rules could exclude applicants with real teaching potential, she said.

They also questioned whether the rules would apply to applicants for posts as an unqualified teacher, which academies and Free Schools are now allowed to employ.

Anna Sutton, dean of the University of Chester's faculty of education, rated outstanding by OFSTED, said: "We have our own rigorous tests designed to show up problems, and promising students are told where they have to improve." Over several years, only a handful had failed to make the necessary progress, she said.



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