Future teachers will be subjected to new "personality tests" from September to make sure they can communicate with pupils in the classroom.
The tests are designed to ensure that new staff have the organisational skills necessary for lesson planning and the "emotional resilience" to cope with the pressures of badly-behaved children. They are part of a wider shake-up of the teacher training system planned by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.
Other key measures include tougher literacy and numeracy tests – with a restriction on the number of times trainees can retake them. In addition, those with only third-class degree passes will be banned from accessing grants for training, while those with first-class honours will be eligible for generous incentives.
The tests are designed to show the "non-cognitive" ability of applicants, who will be expected to fill out a computer-based questionnaire gauging their response to a series of situations. Academics argue, however, that the only real way to test whether someone is suitable for teaching is to put them in the classroom.
According to a report prepared for the Department for Education, the 15-minute questionnaires are designed to show how potential teachers would "cope with pressure and set-backs and [are] able to quickly recover composure". University teacher training courses and school-based training providers will not be compelled to use the new tests.
A spokesman for the Teaching agency, the recruitment arm of the DfE, said: "By screening applicants for a range of attributes and behavioural competencies considered essential to good teaching, we will reinforce what is already a rigorous selection process."