Dunces Told to Carry on Teaching; Student Teachers Are Given Five Years to Pass Tests Ten-Year-Olds Take in Their Stride

By Gallagher, Ian | The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 30, 2002 | Go to article overview

Dunces Told to Carry on Teaching; Student Teachers Are Given Five Years to Pass Tests Ten-Year-Olds Take in Their Stride


Gallagher, Ian, The Mail on Sunday (London, England)


Byline: IAN GALLAGHER

UP TO 350 trainee teachers who failed simple English and maths tests are being allowed to teach in Britain's schools.

In the past, teachers were barred from taking jobs in state schools if they failed the compulsory entrance exams.

Now Education Secretary Estelle Morris has relaxed the rules and they will be given unlimited attempts at the tests over five years.

While trying to pass they will be able to teach GCSE and A-level classes but will receive a lower rate of pay than qualified teachers.

The 45-minute literacy and numeracy exams have been attacked in recent months for being too easy, with critics claiming they are a poor way of raising standards in the teaching profession.

Last year two 10-year-olds from a school in Birmingham were put to the test - without being told the exams were designed for students twice their age - and passed with flying colours.

In the literacy paper, candidates are asked to spell words such as receipt, available, immediate and advertisement. Examiners say they would expect teachers to use the words frequently in school.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said last night: 'It is worrying that so many people are failing these tests.

We are not talking about rocket science, after all.' Ministers instructed the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) to develop the tests three years ago amid concern over the standard of basic classroom skills. …

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