UK & World News
Trainee Teachers Face Tough New Tests
Prospective teachers will have to sit new tougher tests in English, maths and reasoning before they can start training.
The changes will see calculators banned from maths tests, and pass marks in English and maths raised.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said the "rigorous selection" of trainee teachers was key to raising school standards.
All trainee teachers currently have to pass basic skills tests in literacy and numeracy. However, until this September they were allowed unlimited resits.
Figures showed that around 98% of trainees passed the tests, potentially calling into question the level of challenge.
Candidates have already been limited to two resits for each test from this September, and the pass mark has been raised.
Now a panel of head teachers and education experts has recommended that the tests are toughened-up further.
The Government has said it will accept the panel's recommendations in full.
Following the changes, candidates will have to achieve separate passes in English, mathematics and reasoning in order to be able to start teacher training.
Mr Gove said: "The evidence from around the world is clear - rigorous selection of trainee teachers is key to raising the quality and standing of the teaching profession.
"These changes will mean that parents can be confident that we have the best teachers coming into our classrooms.
"Above all, it will help ensure we raise standards in our schools and close the attainment gap between the rich and poor."
The panel's chairman, Sally Coates, said: "We believe that the whole selection process needs to be sufficiently rigorous to ensure that anyone who gains a place on a course of initial teacher training would be highly likely to succeed in that training, and go on to make an excellent teacher."
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat education minister David Laws has criticised teachers for leaving children with "depressing low expectations" of what they can achieve in life.
He said too many children were led to believe that top exam grades, places at elite universities and professional careers were beyond them.
"Teachers, colleges, careers advisers have a role and a responsibility to aim for the stars and to encourage people to believe they can reach the top in education and employment," Mr Laws told The Daily Telegraph.
"That's not happening as much as it should do at the moment."