Swinney to update MSPs on P1 assessments after defeat

Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney is to update MSPs on the future of assessments for P1 pupils. Holyrood voted to demand ministers “halt” the tests after criticism from some parents and teachers. The BBC reports.

Mr Swinney said he would “reflect” on the vote, but has repeatedly spoken out in defence of the standardised assessments policy.

He told an event at the SNP conference that the vote was a “disgrace” which was motivated by politics, not pupils.

Standardised assessments were introduced in 2017 in a bid to gather more data about the stages children have reached in their learning, with literacy and numeracy tests at P1, P4, P7 and S3 level.

Opponents say they are not in line with play-based learning and do not provide teachers with valuable data, and have claimed that some younger children have been left distressed by the experience.

The motion is largely symbolic and does not bind the government to any action, but opposition members called on minsters to “respect the will of parliament” and scrap the tests.

Labour’s Iain Gray said the question was “no longer whether these tests should be allowed to continue”, but “when the SNP government will finally listen to teachers, parents and parliament”.

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “Instead of providing a lecture on why everyone – from teachers to parents to every other party – is wrong on standardised testing and why the SNP isn’t, John Swinney would do well cut his losses and do away with these tests for four and five year olds once and for all.”

Read more Swinney to update MSPs on P1 assessments after defeat

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