Date published: 16th July 2019

Published by: Department for Education


Dear Colleagues,

Please please read the letter from Minister Gibb informing you of the decision to replace the skills test at the end of this recruitment cycle send out by the Department for Education today.


Today’s Written Ministerial Statement about the change can be found here.

This decision has been taken following a review of the skills test and after engaging with universities, schools, candidates, teachers and representative bodies which found that these tests do not provide appropriate assurance of the numeracy and literacy skills of trainees.

The skills tests will be replaced with a new system of provider-led assurance. This new approach will see trainees being assured against a set of fundamental mathematics and English skills we would expect them to have by the end of their initial teacher training.

We believe that this approach will allow universities and schools to better identify the needs of individual trainees and offer additional support to strengthen these skills where required.

The Standards and Testing Agency will be working with teacher training providers over the coming months to develop guidance on the fundamental mathematics and English skills teachers will need. This guidance will be published before the end of this recruitment cycle. Over the course of the next recruitment cycle there will also be an opportunity to refine these, working with you and your representative bodies to iterate and improve them before candidates start their training in 2020.

We will contact you again at the end of this recruitment cycle with further information, including the guidance on the fundamental mathematics and English skills.

If you have any queries, please contact us on: Skills.TESTS@education.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Hope
Deputy Director, Becoming a Teacher

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