A studied insult

4th May 2001 at 01:00
Basic skills tests for new teachers received almost universal approval in the consultation over the Government's Green Paper on modernising the teaching profession. Which just shows that all of the supposedly important people can be wrong at least some of the time. Of course every teacher should be literate and numerate. But why should the profession that expects every other calling to accept its GCSEs as an indication of just that, undermine the credibility of its own exams and the national curriculum byrequiring a specific test of literacy and numeracy?

Teachers may require a higher standard, or particular statistical or language skills. But what is it about maths and English that makes them any different from the other professional skills new teachers are supposed to be taught and tested upon as part of their training? Why are tacked-on tests not necessary in Wales or Scotland? These tests are inappropriate, unfair, and a studied insult to the profession. They should be quietly dropped.

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