Government national testing stance 'tramples' democracy

Ministers' insistence on continuing with controversial national assessments for youngest pupils is likened to Boris Johnson's tactics

Tes Reporter

Government national testing stance 'tramples' democracy

The Scottish government has been compared to prime minister Boris Johnson in its refusal to scrap national tests for four- and five-year-old pupils.

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie said it was a year since MSPs voted to end the controversial P1 Scottish Standardised National Assessments (SNSAs), but that they are still being carried out.

At First Minister's Questions this afternoon, Mr Rennie accused the Scottish government of ignoring the decision and urged Nicola Sturgeon to order the scrapping of the tests.

A year ago today: MSPs vote to scrap national tests for 5-year-olds

Quick read: Teachers brand P1 tests 'a waste of time'

SNSAs review: Testing of five-year-olds should continue, review says

The campaign against SNSAs: Scrap 'cruel' testing of five-year-olds

Mr Rennie asked: "Since then, the Scottish government has ordered tests for another 50,000 Primary 1 pupils.

"Why has the first minister allowed that, in the face of the clear vote of Scotland's Parliament?"

Ms Sturgeon defended her government for persisting with the assessments, arguing it has acted in the "right and proper way" by ordering an independent review of the testing and publishing the findings.

"I think that the assessments we have in place in our schools are proportionate and right," Ms Sturgeon said.

"This is part of the process of making sure we have the information that allows us to determine whether our education system is delivering for the young people it serves."

Comparing the move to the prime minister's suspending of Parliament at Westminster, Mr Rennie said: "So when Boris Johnson tramples over parliamentary democracy, the first minister is outraged.

"When her education secretary does exactly the same, she pats him on the back.

"But it isn't just Parliament, teachers are being snubbed too," he said, citing criticism from teachers saying that the tests were "a logistical nightmare, cause a lot of stress to pupils and were a waste of time".

Mr Rennie concluded: "Experts are against the tests, teachers have spoken out against the tests, Parliament voted against the tests.

"I know he's not having a good day but will the first minister finally listen and tell John Swinney he's got to scrap the tests?"

Making referencing to the review, the first minister replied: "It's absolute nonsense to suggest that David Reedy's report provided anything other than a clear recommendation that P1 assessments should continue."

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Latest stories