All current teacher trainees are required to pass skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). All applicants to ITT training are required to pass the skills tests before starting their course. This includes all entrants beginning the Early Years ITT on or after 1 August 2014.

The numeracy and literacy skills tests: 

  • cover the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge required for teaching. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism; 
  • do not replace the GCSE grade C equivalence entry requirement; 
  • are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher; all questions use real data and information which teachers are likely to encounter; and
  • are computerised and can be taken at any of approximately 150 test centres throughout the UK. 

Quality assurance

The tests and the questions within them go through a stringent quality assurance procedure involving external panels of representatives from ITT providers, teachers and subject experts. The tests are extensively piloted and the performance of each test is continually monitored.

Guidance, support and special arrangements

The  Department for Education has developed guidance and support materials to help candidates pass the tests; candidates are strongly advised to review the support material before attempting the skills tests. If any candidate is likely to experience difficulties taking a test and has needs that entitle them to reasonable adjustments, they can apply for special arrangements.