Maths hurdle is barrier to teaching recruits

25th May 2001 at 01:00
The General Teaching Council has joined calls for skills tests for student teachers to be abandoned, amid concerns they are deterring new entrants.

Brighton University's failure rate has soared from 3 per cent last year, when numeracy tests were introduced, to 23 per cent. Many other teacher-training colleges are predicting lower pass rates.

GTC chief executive Carol Adams said the council agreed with Education Secretary David Blunkett that lowering entry requirements is "not in the interests of professional standards".

But she added: "There are better ways of preparing people to meet the demands of a challenging and complex profession. The (current) review of the initial teacher training requirements provides an opportnity to agree the standards required and embed them in the framework."

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers wants the tests to be scrapped. Its secretary Mary Russell said: "Each time they fail, there is less likelihood that these students will get through the next time because they are in such a state."

On May 4 The TES ("Test pressure forces able trainees to quit") reported on the pressures facing students who, after nearly four years' study, find their future careers ride on a 45-minute test.

This year's students have four chances to pass literacy and numeracy tests by August. Next year's students will also have to tackle an information and communications technology exam.

Letters, 24

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