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‘No legal basis’ for compulsory P1 testing, new information reveals

It emerged yesterday (28 August) that Scottish Government advice to schools that parents could not withdraw their children from testing was not based on legal advice, as initially suggested.

While a leading civil servant in the government’s learning directorate warned schools last week that the Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland (Solar) had advised that “parents don’t have the option to opt out”, Solar has now confirmed it provided no “formal or informal view on the matter”.

Commenting on the developments, Jackie Brock, CEO of Children in Scotland, said:

"Parents and schools now know there is no legal basis for insisting that P1 children be tested.

“There is also zero credible evidence that children will benefit from being tested at this early age.

"It's time to call a halt to this wasteful and damaging approach, which is opposed by organisations across the education sector.

"We hope that attention will then turn to preserving and prioritising the quality of the child, teacher and parent experience in P1, and developing policy for the early years that is genuinely evidence-led.”

This follows Children in Scotland’s statement last week, which warned that children, families and teachers “risk paying the price” for weaknesses in the testing policy.

Standardised testing was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2017 with the aim of gathering more information on the stage children have reached in their learning.

Children in Scotland supports Upstart’s Scotland’s Play Not Tests campaign.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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