No tests, no QTS

4th May 2007 at 01:00
It's no comfort if you go to pieces but, compared with teaching 30 kids, skills tests are a doddle, says Sara Bubb

I'm not going to bother moaning about what an unnecessary irritant the skills tests are and how little the education world thinks of them. I'm not even going to mention the talented art teacher who took 15 goes to pass the numeracy test, and nearly jacked the job in.

Don't waste your breath talking about what qualifications you have got or what subjects and age groups you teach, because to get qualified teacher status (QTS) everyone has to meet standard 2.8 - the skills tests.

The tests in maths, literacy and technology are hyped up to be worse than they are, and you'll be fine if you practise enough at www.tda.gov.ukskillstests.

Numeracy is the one that most people find tough but 81 per cent pass first time and only one in 10 people has to have more than two tries. You can have as many goes as you need so don't allow yourself to worry until you are on your third attempt.

I know that's no comfort to those of you who go to pieces in tests, don't feel very confident at mathsliteracytechnology, aren't brilliant with computers especially unfamiliar ones, and would prefer to be tested with a pencil and paper.

Prepare, practise and put them into perspective: compared to teaching 30 children every day, these tests are just a minor inconvenience. It's quite a palaver though, registering and booking them. The tests are taken online at designated centres and you may as well book to take all three on the same half day because literacy and numeracy run for 45 and 48 minutes respectively and the technology test takes 35 minutes.

If English isn't your first language, or if you have a disability such as dyslexia or a visual impairment, register as such - you'll get more time.

Book the tests early to allow time for re-sits before the end of your course because no matter how well you pass all other elements you can't get QTS until the tests are passed.

Even if you have a teaching job, make it clear to the school that you're unqualified if the tests are not completed by the time you start. The head might decide not to employ you.

One thing's for sure, you can't start induction because to do so you need to be qualified and registered with the General Teaching Council. So - to adapt that handy abbreviation JFDI - just flipping do it

Sara Bubb's The Insider's Guide for New Teachers: Succeed in Training and Induction is published by TESRoutledge

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