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After today’s vote, it’s time to reconsider P1 testing

The Scottish Government was defeated in a vote today calling on ministers to stop testing P1 pupils.

Responding to today’s vote in parliament, Children in Scotland CEO Jackie Brock said:

“The debate in Holyrood this afternoon was at times extremely heated, but often generated more heat than light.

“It did not reflect the considered approach that is more likely to deliver informed, balanced and evidence-driven decisions that support children’s learning.

“The response to the introduction of P1 tests signals the widespread support for a play-based approach.

“The range of interests who oppose these tests now includes teachers, academics, unions, education organisations – and a majority of our MSPs.

“We remain firmly in favour of play-based learning at the early stages of primary, not just because all the evidence suggests it is best for young children but because Curriculum for Excellence commits to it up to the age of six, and it is entirely counter-productive to introduce a policy which contradicts this.

“We will continue to question the time and expense involved in testing four- and five-year olds when the benefits from the perspective of children, teachers, schools and parents are completely unproven. Will the Scottish Government now reconsider?”

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Play Not Tests

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'Kindness and fairness' key to excellent teaching, children say

Teachers should be kind and fair, meeting the needs of all pupils as individuals using a relationship-based and rights-based approach.

Those are the key findings of a new report giving children a say on what makes a good teacher, based on research carried out by Children in Scotland and commissioned by the General Teaching Council for Scotland as part of the review of the Professional Standards for teachers.

The report, Review of the Professional Standards: The Experiences of Children and Young People, will be launched this week at Scottish Learning Festival this week.

It includes a series of recommendations for GTC Scotland and teachers in implementing the research findings.

Children in Scotland engaged directly with 591 children and young people, provided a resource for adults to use as a basis for their own engagement, and issued an online survey to support a wider geographical spread of participants.

Comments from pupils involved in the research included:

“If a teacher is kind, it travels across the class and puts everyone in a good mood.”

“They want to learn from us. They ask questions like, see if it is not working, how might I do this better? They are not too proud to say they got it wrong.”

Elaine Kerridge, Policy Manager (Participation and Engagement) at Children in Scotland, said:

“We very much welcome the GTCS placing children’s voices and perspectives on teaching at the heart of the review of their Professional Standards for teachers. Their voices will be key to the new teaching standards and transform them into standards that place the needs and wellbeing of children at their heart.”

“We loved working with the children and young people and hearing their lived experience of teaching in Scotland in 2018. They shared what a ‘good teacher’ looks and feels like in and around the classroom and told us what matters most to them.

“The overarching message is that teachers need to meet the needs of all pupils as individuals in an approach that is both relationship-based and children’s rights-based. The values must be interpreted and implemented in a way that works for all pupils as individuals.”

The report forms part of GTC Scotland’s review of their Professional Standards, which has been ongoing since January 2017 and is being carried out to ensure that these standards are contemporary, relevant and reflect the demands of teaching, now and in the future.

Find out more about the project here.

Read the full GTCS and Children in Scotland report

Review of the Professional Standards: The Experiences of Children and Young People

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Listening to diverse voices, shaping values

Children in Scotland consulted 591 children and young people as part of the project

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Our Participation & Engagement work

Young people's voices are essential in shaping our work

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