Here`s how I think it went……..
This year my daughter, who has been an assistant teacher for several years, was given the opportunity to become a fully-fledged teacher. In order to achieve this and increase her salary from the assistant`s starting point of just over £13,000 per annum to a salary which will enable her to properly support her four children who are still at home, she had to take a Professional Skills Test via Learn Direct who are part of the Department for Education.
The test comes in two parts, numeracy and literacy and any person wishing to become a teacher, has to take it. The first attempt at each test is free of charge, subsequent ones are not. If you don’t pass within three attempts, then you must wait 24 months before you can book any further tests – this means starting the teacher training application process all over again.
My daughter passed the literacy test with flying colours.
She then had to attend a Learn Direct centre where the numeracy test was being held and on the first occasion she failed by one mark. The second time she took the test she had to travel to Exeter, nearly two hundred miles from where she lives. I`m not sure why it was Exeter but I think it relate`s to the dates individuals are able to attend. She had to fork out train fare to go and was anxious because in one section of the numeracy test you are limited to just 18 seconds to give your answer before the computer moves you on to the next question.
On the second occasion my daughter again failed by one mark. The guy at the centre said to her and I quote, “Don`t worry, lots of people fail by one mark, ” which is interesting since after the first test, all subsequent ones are paid for. Undaunted, she put in to resit the test for a third time however Learn Direct refused permission stating that their records showed she had already taken it. They had clearly made a mistake which my daughter was able to evidence. Learn Direct eventually apologised but it had taken them so long to sort the matter out that the date she had originally booked had gone by and my daughter missed it.
She finally managed to book again for the third and final time and on this occasion the centre was in Leicester. She was supported by a tutor who advised her to to revise and practice tests on the internet and was told that many of the questions she was revising would come up in the actual test. She revised solidly into the night for three weeks prior to the test. She practiced many, many times until she was confident she could do it. When it came to it, none of the questions she was advised to revise came up in the third test. None of them. She failed by just four marks. She cannot take the test again for two more years.
My daughter has a degree in law, which she obtained while raising five children largely on her own. She has been a highly respected and successful Assistant Teacher for a number of years teaching children with special needs. it is utter madness that this ill thought out test should prevent my conscientious and talented daughter from achieving her desire and it is a tragedy that many children will now not have the golden opportunity to be taught by her. It is they who will be losing out on her passion and her drive, all because of this ridiculous approach to proof of ability.
Whose idea was it to create this daft, standardised test which gives every person`s unique brain and ways of working out problems, just eighteen seconds to come up with the correct answer and how many more talented potential teachers is the UK losing out on while this idiotic practice is thought acceptable?
I welcome comments from any person reading this and then please share. I want this test to be urgently reviewed and will not rest with this simple blog.