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
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
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.