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Numeracy tests vital for trainees;Letters;News amp; opinion

YOUR story and editorial on numeracy tests for trainee teachers (TES, October 29) ignore the support there is for the test and its vital importance: 71 per cent of respondents to the Green Paper were in favour of the new tests.

The latest Office for Standards in Education Overview report of secondary initial teacher-training commented: "Most trainees are aware of national and local schools' test data and norms but their understanding of how comparative school data can be used to set targets for pupils' achievement varies considerably."

It is therefore important that we introduce the numeracy tests as soon as is practicable. We are offering trainees two opportunities to take the tests this year, as it's in their interest to get them out of the way before they embark upon the challenge of their first year of teaching. If ITT providers boycott tests this year, they will not only undermine attempts to raise standards, they will deprive trainees of this opportunity to sit the tests before they start their induction.

We stated in the Green Paper that the tests would be introduced, starting with numeracy, for the 199900 year. A guidance booklet was sent out in September for distribution to all final-year trainees. Support materials will be provided to help trainees prepare for the numeracy test in February 2000.

We will ensure that all local education authorities and schools understand that the employment prospects of trainees who have been through training this year should not be affected by the tests, as they have until the end of their induction period to pass the tests for their qualified status to be confirmed.

Estelle Morris

Schools minister

Department for Education and Employment

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