The process for taking the professional skills tests

The process for taking the professional skills tests

Who should take the skills tests?

All applicants to initial teacher training (ITT), including those on Assessment Only (AO) programmes, must pass the professional skills tests for prospective teachers before starting their course. ITT providers will use skills tests results to inform their decisions about candidates’ course entry.

Applicants for courses starting in the 2017 to 2018 academic year can book tests now. You can take your skills tests once you have evidence of having submitted your application through UCAS Teacher Training (for AO programmes, please refer to your school). You can book your tests in advance of this, as long as an application is submitted before you attend the test centre.

Trainees who started training before 1 July 2013 need to pass the tests before being recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). Tests can be taken at any time during the course.

Practise the tests

You are strongly advised to practise the tests before taking them to familiarise yourself with the functionality of the tests. For more information and to use our interactive practice tests, visit the numeracy and literacy tests pages.

Book the tests

You can book your first literacy and numeracy test attempts free of charge through learndirect, the Department for Education’s delivery partner. You can take the tests at learndirect test centres across the country.

If you require access arrangements, please refer to the access arrangements page to find out what may be available to you. If you require specific access arrangements that are not mentioned, please contact the learndirect helpline to check availability.

Take the tests

Make sure you know where the test centre is, how long it will take to get there and what you need to take with you. Please arrive in plenty of time to avoid being marked absent and losing your first free test attempt.

Rules for candidates

Before you take the test you will be asked to read the rules for candidates. It is important that you adhere to them. If you are found to be in breach of the rules, your test may be stopped and the Department for Education (DfE) will take appropriate action. This may include invalidating test results and informing your ITT provider.

Materials you must take to the test centre

You must provide 2 forms of identification (ID) and evidence of your ITT application. You will not be allowed to take a test without them, so please allow enough time for ID checks to take place before your test.

Identification required

You must provide 2 forms of ID at the test centre, one primary and one secondary.

The ID presented must exactly match the details you entered during the registration process. If these details do not match, you may not be permitted to take the test. The only exception is if your ID displays your middle name(s), providing your first name and surname on the ID match the name of the registered account.

Primary ID

Primary ID must be valid and include a photograph, name and signature. Acceptable ID includes:

• a passport*

• an EU photo card driving licence (full or provisional)

• a European national identification card

• a UK student card or student union card

• a completed alternative ID form**

* A passport can be accepted as a primary form of ID even if it does not have a signature. This will only be accepted if there is no designated place for a signature, for example, a biometric passport.

** You can complete an alternative ID form before the test if you don’t have suitable official ID. Please note you need to include a passport-sized photograph with the form.

Secondary ID

Secondary ID must be valid and include a name and signature. This can be:

• a debit or credit card

• UK armed forces ID

• any ID from the primary list that hasn’t already been used as primary ID

All candidates are required to sign-in electronically at test centres. The electronic signature will be verified against both primary and secondary ID.

If you have changed any part of your name since registering for the tests, you must bring evidence of your name change, for example: marriage certificate, deed poll or other legal document.

Evidence of ITT applications

You must provide evidence of your completed and submitted application at the test centre. The types of acceptable documents are:

• a welcome letter from a teacher training organisation, such as UCAS Teacher Training Track or Teach First

• email correspondence from a teacher training organisation, such as Teach First, confirming your application

• correspondence from a school or training provider, confirming your application

• a copy of a completed application form

• confirmation of, or invitation to interview from, a teacher training organisation, training provider or school

The examples above are for general guidance; it is not an exhaustive list. All versions of evidence are permitted whether an original copy, photocopy or displayed on a mobile device. If you do not bring the appropriate evidence, you will be turned away, and you will lose your first free attempt at taking the skills tests.

Test results

The skills tests are computer marked. Once you have finished a test, you will be provided with a printed score report. Certificates are not issued and it is therefore strongly recommended that you keep the printed score report for your own records.

To check results have updated correctly after each test, log into your account and select 'My account’ followed by ‘Results’. If you think a test result has not uploaded correctly, contact the skills tests helpline.

ITT providers accessing results

Your training provider can access your results, see how many attempts you have had, the scores achieved and your overall results. They will use this information in the selection process and to verify successful completion of both tests before allowing candidates to start ITT courses. You do not need to contact them with your results.

Once you’ve started your ITT course or have successfully completed a course, you can view your skills tests results at any time. Training providers access results for ITT students to verify successful completion of both tests before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).

Test outcome validity

Skills test passes for applicants to ITT courses remain valid for 3 years from the date of the test you passed. You must start an ITT course within this period. If you are applying for a course that starts beyond the period of validity, you will need to re-take the skills tests.

If you have already started or completed an ITT course your skills tests results are valid indefinitely.

Getting help

Learndirect’s helpline is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm


Telephone: 0300 303 9613

Email: support@sta.learndirect.com

If you have any questions about teaching or teacher training, give the Get Into Teaching Line a call on 0800 389 2500 from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

Privacy and data protection

The DfE, test centres and our e-assessment contractor hold candidate information such as:

• test attendance

• candidates’ number of attempts

• test results

• incident reports raised by test centres

• potential discrepancy reports

• test crashes

The information is used for reporting and investigative purposes and may be shared with:

• training providers

• schools

• employers as appropriate and in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act.

The DfE acts as the data controller for skills test data. 

Use of personal information

Information you provide or we hold about you (whether or not under our contract or contracts with you) may be used by us or our agents to:

• identify you when you contact us

• help identify accounts, services and/or products which we have supplied you with. We may do this by automatic means, using a scoring system, which uses the information you have provided, any information we hold about you and information from a third party

• help run, and contact you about improved running of, any accounts, services and products we have provided before, or provide now or in the future

• carry out marketing analysis and applicant profiling (including with transactional information) and create statistical and testing information

• help to prevent and detect fraud or loss

• contact you in any way (including mail, email, phone, text or multimedia messages) about products and services offered by us and selected partners (we’ll only contact you in this way if you have previously given your consent)

We may allow other people and organisations to use information we hold about you for the purpose of providing services you have asked for, or if we have been legitimately asked to provide information for legal or regulatory purposes or as part of legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings. From time-to-time, these other people and organisations may be outside the European Economic Area (EEA) in countries that do not have the same standards of protection for personal data as the UK.

We may also allow your information to be used by other agencies for them to carry out any of the above purposes.

We will share candidate test performance data with training providers.
We may monitor and record communications with you (including phone conversations and emails) for quality assurance, legal, compliance and training purposes.

learndirect's privacy policy

Your online assessment is provided by learndirect. You can read their privacy policy.

Learndirect may also act on behalf of DfE and share candidate information with its associated partners in accordance with the privacy policy above. Please contact learndirect at any time if you would like details of the data they hold about you or have any questions about their privacy policy.

By registering to take the tests, you consent to the use of your test information and any personal data within it as set out above. If you do not consent to such use you should contact DfE's data protection officer.