Trainee teachers should be made to sit new tests in numeracy and literacy before being allowed in the classroom, Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said.
It comes after a “damning” new report yesterday raised fresh concerns about the lack of time devoted to these “basic” disciplines on teacher training courses in Scotland. Student teachers on a four-year degree course can spend as little as 44 hours on numeracy and 48 hours on literacy, a new analysis of initial teacher education (ITE) courses found.
Education Secretary John Swinney admitted he is “very concerned” by the findings and pledged to raise the issue with college and teaching leaders in an effort to tackle the problem.
The issue was thrust into the spotlight last week when trainee teachers told MSPs at Holyrood their training did not give them the basic maths skills to educate primary seven pupils.
Rowena Arshad, head of the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, told the education committee yesterday the literacy and numeracy figures are “worrying”.
The Tory leader has now set out measures to boost reading and counting skills among pupils after international league tables revealed Scotland is falling down in comparison to other nations.
Teacher trainees should have to sit literacy and numeracy tests at the start and need of their course, according to Ms Davidson’s plan, which also calls for the creation of a new independent inspectorate to be established to carry out “rigorous quality checks.”
Ms Davidson said: “When we are training teachers, we need to ensure they know how to pass on good literacy and numeracy skills to children.