Teachers training in Scotland to include numeracy and literacy tests under new guidelines

Prospective teachers will be expected to undergo numeracy and literacy tests under new proposals
Prospective teachers will be expected to undergo numeracy and literacy tests under new proposals
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PROSPECTIVE teachers are to face “more demanding” training courses, with candidates expected to sit literacy and numeracy tests before being allowed into classrooms.

• Prospective teachers are to undergo literacy and numeracy tests under new proposals

• Masters level courses are also being mooted as part of recommendations published in a report of improving teacher education

The move comes as ministers accepted a new report which recommended introducing the assessments for students on teacher-training courses in Scotland.

The report to ministers from the National Partnership Group (NPG), which was set up to advise the Scottish Government on proposed changes to teacher training, also recommended that qualified teachers be encouraged to improve their knowledge by taking Masters-level courses.

Scotland’s minister for learning, Alasdair Allan, yesterday announced a £3 million Scottish Government fund over the next three years to support higher-quality learning for teachers.

A recommendation in the NPG report called for literary and numeracy tests as part of teacher-training courses to “allow weaknesses to be addressed” among candidates.

It also said a “more demanding level should be set as a prerequisite for competence to teach” among undergraduates.

The shake-up in teacher training will be piloted in spring 2013, with the changes likely to be rolled out in autumn that year.

The Scottish Government yesterday insisted that the main part of the report was a focus on improving training for qualified teachers through Masters courses.

Mr Allan said: “We are providing £3m to enable more teachers to learn at Masters level. Amongst the first group of teachers to benefit will be those who were on the Chartered Teacher programme, with £1m funding allowing them to finish the learning they have already undertaken.”

The minister said the Scottish Government would set up a new body chaired by Queen Margaret University vice-chancellor Professor Petra Wend to oversee the changes to teacher training.

Mr Allan said: “I also expect local authorities and universities to work together to enhance teacher education. I thank the National Partnership Group for their report, which I accept. It is now time to pick up the pace in delivering improved education for teachers and better outcomes for our young people.”

Dr Bill Maxwell, chief executive of watchdog Education Scotland, said: “We are pleased to see the publication of the NPG report and the Scottish Government’s positive response to it.”

The changes to teacher training were welcomed by the EIS union, which will have members represented on a national implementation board.

An EIS spokesman said: “Literacy and numeracy are extremely important and embedded across the Curriculum for Excellence, so it’s understandable that we need to look at ways of enhancing them as part of the programme.”