teachersBRISBANE - Prospective Queensland teachers will have to prove their own literacy and numeracy skills before they can enter the classroom.

The state government has accepted all five recommendations of the Masters report into the education system.


Professor Geoff Masters was commissioned after Queensland children were found lacking in national literacy and numeracy tests.

His first recommendation is that all new primary school teachers will have to demonstrate their own literacy and numeracy before they are able to teach those skills to students.

The tests will be developed by the Queensland College of Teachers and trialled on student teachers next year, before they are introduced in 2011.

Premier Anna Bligh said she understood the requirement to sit a test in order to teach would be controversial, but she hoped the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) would support the move.

"There is a very important opportunity here for Queensland teachers to lead the country," Ms Bligh said.

"This is a real opportunity for us to lift standards and we shouldn't miss it."

Ms Bligh said the tests, an Australian first, should bring more respect to the profession and enhance its attractiveness as a job.

"I expect that what we will see is a measurement that will be able to demonstrate the skills that young student teachers are taking into our classrooms," she said.

"I think that's a good thing for the profession in the long term."

Existing teachers will not be required to sit the tests, but will be asked to undertake professional development in literacy, numeracy and science, as recommended in the Masters report.

Teachers moving from interstate will need to sit the test in order to be registered, and should a prospective teacher fail the test, Ms Bligh said they should be allowed to try again.

Two recommendations, those of deploying specialist teachers into schools, and establishing an institute for principals and senior teachers, have already been funded in the budget.

A recommendation to improve science testing will be done in a two-step process - improving resources to science teaching and then rolling out statewide testing, Ms Bligh said.

Meanwhile, the QTU is considering further strike action in its campaign for better pay and conditions.

Ms Bligh said swine flu had already caused significant disruption in schools, and she hoped the teachers would not vote to resume strikes next term.

She urged teachers to accept the 12.5 per cent, three-year offer that has been on the table for some time now.

"The sooner we can get our teachers paid at that rate the better," she said.