Professional Skills Tests

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Applicants for ITT courses for the 2017/18 academic cohort should register now for the on-line Literacy and Numeracy Tests. 
Applicants for ITT courses for the 2018/2019 academic cohort should register once UCAS opens at the end of October 2017.

The professional skills tests for prospective teachers assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge needed for teaching.  This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism.

All trainee teachers are required to pass skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).  You are advised to practice before sitting the tests.  For further information please see the Practice Literacy Tests and Practice Numeracy Tests.

Applicants to initial teacher training (ITT) are strongly advised to take the professional skills tests as soon as possible after submitting an application for ITT and ideally before the interview stage.  This is to allow training providers to use the results to help inform their decisions.  Please remember: you cannot start a school direct training place unless you have passed both the numeracy and literacy online tests. If you have any concerns or need support, please do not hesitate to contact use

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 computerised and can be taken at any of approximately 150 test centres throughout the UK.

Please note:
  • The number of resits allowed will be limited to two per subject. This applies to all skills test candidates.
  • Candidates who fail after two resits in either numeracy or literacy will not be able to book any more skills tests, in either subject, for 24 months from the date of the second resit (may be subject o increase).
  • Skills tests candidates will receive their first attempt at each test free of charge but will be charged for resits. The charge for resits is £19.25 per test and will be levied at the time of booking a test online.
  • If you cannot find a suitable booking slot, the learndirect help desk is open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:00. Call them on 0300 303 9613 or email support@sta.learndirect.com or check the website frequently for current availability.
  • Check out the full list of skills test centres  located in your area and further afield.
  • Make sure you know where the test centre is located, what you need to take with you and how long it will take you to get there.  Leave some extra time to complete the ID checks at the centre, details of which you will find under candidate identification requirements on the STA website.

Information for candidates taking tests between June 2015 and January 2017

The Department for Education manages the development of new content for the professional skills tests for trainee teachers. To help us to do this, we are undertaking trials of new questions we plan to use in future tests. It is important that we regularly update our tests and that we trial new questions to make sure that the skills tests remain valid and up-to-date for candidates.

The department is working with learndirect, the organisation contracted to deliver the professional skills tests, to run the next trial between June 2015 and January 2017. Candidates taking the test during this period may be asked to participate in the trial.

If you are a candidate and would like to participate, you may wish to know that:

  • the trial will take no longer than 15 minutes to complete, so can be undertaken whilst your test result is being processed
  • the trial will consist of either literacy or numeracy questions, dependent on the test you took
  • the questions will be in a similar format to the question in your skills test
  • the responses you give to the trial questions will not affect your skills test result
  • your participation will help us to develop new test materials to use in the future

You will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad as a thank you for your time.