Press release

MillionPlus Deans of Education Network welcomes the removal of skills tests

16 Jul 2019

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, today (16 July) welcomes the announcement from the Department for Education (DfE) that the current skills tests for applicants to enrol on initial teacher training programmes are unfit for purpose and will be removed. In their place will be a system better able to assess literacy and numeracy competencies against the real-world skills required for modern teaching.

Through its Deans of Education network MillionPlus has long campaigned for change and the group has been active in helping the DfE create a new system, designed to ensure that standards are not just maintained but increased – with the added benefit of helping remove a very real barrier to recruitment.

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“Skills tests have acted as a barrier for many who wanted to become teachers, both in terms of the problematic nature of the tests themselves and the increasingly difficult logistics of finding a time and a place around the country for people to sit them. More fundamentally, they also fail to test the most relevant literacy and numeracy skills that teachers need, in favour of arbitrary questions that served only to demonstrate an applicant’s ability to pass a skills test.

“Today’s announcement is welcome - we are very pleased that the DfE has listened to the professional views expressed and worked with us to find a solution that is best for everyone. Under the new system we expect the recruitment of high-quality applicants to rise, which will be highly beneficial to schools and pupils across England.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  3. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  4. Modern universities: facts and stats