This information from the DfE on 24th August 2018:

Booking skills tests during the clearing period   We are writing to you about candidates booking the skills test during the clearing period.   You may be aware of claims in a recent media report that candidates have not been able to find slots to sit the skills tests before the start of their ITT course.   We would like to reassure that there is current test availability in the system for candidates in all regions.   Whilst there has been a significant rise in demand over recent months, we are working closely with our delivery partner PSI to ensure sufficient capacity during clearing. Additional sessions are continually added to give candidates flexibility in booking and taking the tests before the start of their ITT courses. PSI are on track to deliver over 19,000 tests this month, and currently 99.6% of candidates have been offered a test booking within 10 days.    To support us during this busy period, we would appreciate your help in communicating the following to candidates that hold offers but have yet to pass the skills tests:

  1. If a candidate reports to you that they cannot book a test, please direct them in all instances to PSI’s helpdesk. This will ensure PSI can address their specific issues directly and in the promptest way possible. It also ensures that we can accurately monitor capacity in specific locations.  The helpdesk is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm, and contact details are: Telephone: 0300 303 9613  Email: support@sta.learndirect.com
  2. Please advise candidates to book their tests at the earliest opportunity. This will increase the likelihood that they can secure slots at their preferred centre, and help to ensure they have adequate time to resit the tests if required.
  3. Please advise candidates that they can pass the test at any point up until your ITT course’s start date. You should always urge candidates to take the test at the earliest opportunity, but you should not advise that they need to have passed the test in advance of this date.
  4. Please advise candidates to regularly check for new test availability on the skills test booking portal. The portal contains live information on test availability, which changes regularly as new test slots are added and previously booked tests are cancelled. This means new slots may appear at a later date, so candidates should check regularly for these updates.

You can also check capacity in your area by logging on to the skills test booking centre. This can help you support candidates with finding slots and booking tests in good time. However, when searching for available slots please do not click on a specific test slot, as this will make that particular slot unavailable to real candidates for an hour.   You may be aware that our Becoming a Teacher project will be offering further opportunities to consider the candidate experience across the piece, including around the skills tests. We will be seeking feedback from providers and candidates on this in due course, so please look out for an email from us about this. For further information, please contact Skills.TESTS@education.gov.uk.

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