Swinney isn’t losing any sleep over the P1 testing fiasco

23rd November 2018, 12:00am
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Swinney isn’t losing any sleep over the P1 testing fiasco

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/swinney-isnt-losing-any-sleep-over-p1-testing-fiasco

In a contender for the world's biggest understatement this year, education secretary John Swinney told the education directors' body ADES earlier this week: "We've had a little bit of a bumpy exercise on P1 assessments".

Did he have rose-tinted glasses on at the time? No. Was he "doing a May" (sticking to his guns and declaring that everything's just fine)? More likely.

Despite mass opposition to the introduction of tests for children aged 4 and 5 - from MSPs, teachers and increasingly vocal campaigners - Swinney remains determined that the national assessments will continue as planned in the current school year.

The education secretary and deputy first minister didn't get off to the best start at the ADES annual conference in Cumbernauld, having been delayed by a minor issue happening in Westminster last week. (We're fed up with writing the word, but you know … Brexit). Once he did arrive, he said that the debate around the Scottish National Standardised Assessments had been "a classic example of politics getting in the way of good educational arguments".

He added: "I hear disputed views about the value of P1 assessments within the education system, but I hear disputed views about every question in Scottish education. There's nothing that attracts unanimity - everything is a matter of debate. Once you come to terms with that conclusion, you sleep much easier."

However, not all hope is lost for those who would like to see the P1 assessments banished from schools completely. Last month, Swinney announced that an independent review of the tests would be carried out and its report was expected in May. The Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee has revealed that it, too, will carry out its own inquiry.

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