Call to scrap P1 class testing

Michelle Ballantyne MSP.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP.

Education secretary John Swinney has been urged to scrap testing for five-year-olds in their first year of school after teachers and parents sent in dozens of complaints about the tests.

A non-binding vote in the Scottish Parliament last week saw the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens join forces in calling for the online S1 tests, introduced by the Scottish Government last year, to be scrapped arguing that they are not in line with play-based early learning and could create league tables of schools. Members voted by 63 to 61 to pass a Conservative motion calling for a “halt” to the tests.

The tests have produced mixed reactions from trade unions, teachers and parents with many saying the test caused undue stress. Teachers in the Borders must be trained and prepared for tests, narrowing the curriculum for younger children which may impact on teaching children basic skills.

South Scotland MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, said: “These tests cause stress for children who cannot cope with the testing. It does not appear they help in the learning and development of young children. We must all listen to the advice of experts who know how these tests are impacting in the schools and pupils involved. There is growing consensus that P1 tests have little impact on learning.”