Tuesday, 18 September 2018 15:59


The Tory party has been criticised for putting party political games ahead of children’s futures, as they published their motion for debate at Holyrood this Wednesday calling for a halt to Primary 1 assessments.

Ruth Davidson has sought to rewrite history, by stating that her party “have opposed these p1 tests from the start. However, her party’s own 2016 manifesto blows this baseless claim out of the water:

  • “We welcome the Scottish Government’s recent decision to reintroduce national testing in primary schools . . . We believe the Scottish Government needs to be far bolder in measuring progress in our education system. Only by measuring properly can we assess whether schools are meeting the gold standard parents want. The Scottish Government should. . . design the new standardised tests at P1, P4 and P7 to fit into these international methodologies.” (Source: p25 of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Manifesto 2016)

The SNP has condemned the Tories for “grandstanding, preying on the anxieties of parents and blatant political opportunism” in playing games over standardised assessments; measures designed to chart the progress of individual pupils and help tackle the attainment gap. 
The Tories have also been challenged to explain why they now object to assessing pupils at Primary 1, given Tory-run local authorities already used such assessments before these were standardised nationally.
Commenting, Holyrood education committee member Gordon MacDonald MSP said:
“Ruth Davidson’s Tories are guilty of grandstanding, preying on the anxieties of parents and blatant political opportunism. And they’re prepared to do so at the expense of kids’ education – it’s an utter disgrace.
“The Tories are seeking to create monster out of a serious challenge we should all unite behind – driving up standards in our schools. To do that, we need data from P1 to ensure we’re making progress.
“And the Tories used to share that ambition. They even put it in their last Holyrood manifesto.
“And Tory-run councils already used assessments in primary one, before they were standardised across the country. Why only now are they railing against them?
“Ruth Davidson is seeking to rewrite history, just to land a blow on the SNP. It’s completely shameless.
“But the fact of the matter is this: when it comes to educating our young people, no party should be exploiting these issues for political gain.
“And nobody should be standing in the way of driving up standards in schools just for the sake of some headline-grabbing political kick-about.
“The Tories should think long and hard over what they seek to achieve in bringing forward this debate. It smacks of a party – and a leader – who will never be fit to govern in Scotland.”
S5M-13945 Liz Smith: Primary 1 tests - That the Parliament believes that good-quality pupil assessment is an essential component of the drive to raise educational standards in Scotland's schools, but notes the level of concern that has been raised by teachers and other education professionals regarding the introduction and delivery of new testing arrangements for Primary 1 (P1) pupils; considers that this concern questions whether the new P1 tests are in line with the play-based learning philosophy of early years provision in the curriculum for excellence, and, in light of this concern, calls on the Scottish Government to halt the tests in P1 and to reconsider the evidence and the whole approach to evaluating the progress of P1 pupils.

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