Professional skills tests for trainee teachers

As part of the application process for all initial teacher training (ITT) courses, you will need to take and successfully pass the government’s professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you start your course.

What are these tests all about?

The numeracy and literacy skills tests:

  • Cover the core skills that you will need to fulfil during their professional role as a teacher 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 4 (formerly grade C), or equivalent, entry requirement.
  • Are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher; all questions use real data and information which you are likely to encounter as a teacher.

Tell me more. How do I book my tests?

The first three attempts at taking your skills tests in each subject are free of charge. You can book unlimited resits if required, but, after the first three attempts, you will be expected to pay for these yourself. You may be able to request special arrangements, such as 25 per cent extra time when registering online for skills tests, if this is required.

View our test booking tips

Everything you need to know

You can book your tests in advance for a date by which you are expecting to have submitted an application. When you take the tests you will need to provide proof that you have applied for a teacher training course.

Student testimonial - Bernadette

Bernadette Courtney

Birmingham City University

These tests sound a bit scary. Where can I get help?

The Department for Education (DfE) has developed guidance and support materials in numeracy and literacy to help you pass the tests. You are advised to review the support material before attempting the skills tests.

DfE Guidance and support

Learn more about the tests

A lot of people say that it's the format of the tests – as they are computerised – rather than the actual content that makes them difficult. You also have to book your tests in advance. For these reasons we encourage you to get booked in as soon as you can and practice, practice, practice so you feel confident when you get to your slot! 

Can you help me at all? Are you offering 'bootcamp' sessions again?

Yes and yes! We've scheduled in a series of bootcamps here at our City South Campus - some in literacy and some in numeracy. You can book yourself on using the links below and they are free. Numbers are limited so it's best to book on as soon as you can and make sure you cancel if you can no longer attend so someone else can have your place.

Bootcamps are designed to boost your knowledge in areas of weakness. So you need to have practised with some papers beforehand or even have tried to take an actual text. That way we can really focus on helping you with the areas you're getting stuck on. There isn't time in a bootcamp session to teach you the entire skills test!

Leah Hindley

Birmingham City University

Leah Hindley