Professional skills tests

Professional skills tests

The professional skills tests (skills tests) for prospective teachers assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge needed for teaching. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism.

All current and prospective trainee teachers must pass the skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).

Initial teacher training (ITT) providers are responsible for checking that all trainees meet the current ITT entry requirements for the skills tests, before they start the course.

The skills tests:

  • are in addition to the GCSE grade C equivalence entry requirement
  • are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher
  • assess the use of real data and information which teachers are likely to encounter
  • are computerised and can be taken at learndirect skills test approved test centres throughout the UK
  • go through a stringent quality assurance procedure
  • are extensively piloted and the performance of each test is regularly monitored

You can find more information about the skills tests in the context of teacher training via the Get into teaching website.

Information for candidates taking tests between June 2015 and January 2016

The Department for Education manages the development of new content for the professional skills tests for trainee teachers. To help us to do this, we are undertaking trials of new questions we plan to use in future tests. It is important that we regularly update our tests and that we trial new questions to make sure that the skills tests remain valid and up-to-date for candidates.

The department is working with learndirect, the organisation contracted to deliver the professional skills tests, to run the next trial between June 2015 and January 2016. Candidates taking the test during this period may be asked to participate in the trial.

If you are a candidate and would like to participate, you may wish to know that:

  • the trial will take no longer than 15 minutes to complete, so can be undertaken whilst your test result is being processed
  • the trial will consist of either literacy or numeracy questions, dependant on the test you took
  • the questions will be in a similar format to the question in your skills test
  • the responses you give to the trial questions will not affect your skills test result
  • your participation will help us to develop new test materials to use in the future

You will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad as a thank you for your time.

For more information see prize draw terms and conditions (part E).

Getting help

learndirect's helpdesk is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Telephone: 0300 303 9613

Email: support@sta.learndirect.com