Professional Skills Tests for entry to initial teacher education

All entrants to ITE courses from July 2013 will need to have passed the government Professional Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy.

We will expect you to have taken and passed both of the tests before you come for interview. In exceptional circumstances we may be able to go ahead with your interview before you have passed both tests. In this case, if we were to offer you a place on the course the offer would be conditional on your passing the tests soon afterwards.

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, and also in Madrid, Frankfurt and Paris.

There is a general introduction to the tests here.

Before you take the tests

The DfE has developed guidance on the content of the tests and support materials to help candidates pass the tests; you are strongly advised to review the support material before attempting the skills tests.

You can find the support material from the literacy and numeracy test pages here and here.

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. There are different versions of the tests to cater for different needs. Evidence must be available to support any request for adaptations, which might include the following:

  • 25 and 50 per cent extra time versions;
  • on-screen spelling questions in literacy tests;
  • on-screen mental arithmetic questions in numeracy tests; and
  • paper-based tests (including larger print format).

Requests for 25 per cent extra time do not require an application form or evidence to be submitted, although the DfE reserves the right to request proof that candidates require special arrangements. For special arrangements beyond 25 per cent extra time, an application form and evidence, in the form of a medical report, SENCO or educational psychologist’s report, is required.  For information and advice about evidence required for different provisions, contact the special arrangements team at the skills test helpline.

Skills test helpline: Special arrangements team
The helpline is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
Telephone: 0845 450 8867

Registering for and booking the tests

Applicants for initial teacher training (ITT) courses can register for the skills tests now to book appointments, in advance, for a date by which they expect to have submitted their application for an ITE course. You must take the tests after you have applied and you will need to provide evidence of your application for an ITE course when you attend the skills test centre.

Before booking a skills test you will need to register online. Applicants for ITT courses should register online.

Login details will be issued within two working days, enabling access to the skills tests booking pages where you can book and manage appointments and view your testing history.

If you require special arrangements for your tests you must state this when prompted when you register online for the skills tests. Candidates can apply for 25% extra time when registering online for the skills tests. For all other special arrangements, tests can only be booked by contacting the skills test helpline. Do not book a standard test online first.

All candidates will be asked to provide their personal details, which should match exactly the details in their application form and the ID they will use when attending the test centre. If the details do not match, candidates may not be permitted to take the test and their chosen provider may be unable to verify their test results.

All correspondence will be sent by email so it is essential that a valid email address is registered. To prevent correspondence going into junk folders, you should add the email address on the registration page to your contact list.

Taking the tests

Skills tests are delivered via the national network of Pearson Professional Centres (PPCs). Test centres are Pearson VUE branded; no DfE signage will be displayed. PPCs deliver a wide range of tests for clients in addition to the DfE, such as the Driving Standards Agency.

  • Arrival at the test centre at least 15 minutes before your appointment is strongly advised, to allow for security checks. If you arrive late, you may not be permitted to take the test.
  • ITT applicants will need to provide evidence of their application. This could be a copy of the application form or confirmation of receipt.
  • Remember to bring your booking confirmation email to the test centre.
  • Bring your relevant identification, as detailed on the ID requirements page.
  • Read and understand the test rules before arriving at the test centre and adhere to the rules at all times once you are in the test centre.
  • The waiting area, in the majority of test centres, is designed to facilitate the needs of candidates; there are no provisions for childcare. Anyone accompanying you to the test centre will not be allowed to wait in the PPC.
  • When you have finished the test, your results will be available from the test administrator.  Your results will also be available to the ITT provider to whom you have applied, approximately 48 hours after you take the test.

Skills test helpline
The helpline is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
Telephone: 0845 450 8867