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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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Children, parents and teachers 'could pay price for testing policy'

Children in Scotland has issued a further statement about the impact of testing four and five-year-olds. Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive, Jackie Brock, said:

“Testing of four and five-year-olds is an example of policymaking that has little or no evidence base to support it. There is a complete lack of clarity about its purpose, and it is in direct conflict with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence, which emphasises the fundamental importance of play up to the age of six.

“Children, teachers and families risk paying the price for these weaknesses in the policy, in the form of anxiety, confusion and unnecessary tension in relationships between schools and parents.

“This comes at a time when ensuring a positive transition experience for P1 children and an enjoyable, confident and inclusive start to P1 for all pupils, teachers and parents should be the absolute priority.”

The warning comes after it was revealed earlier this week that the Scottish Government had issued a letter to directors of education, telling them that parents would not have the option to withdraw their children from the tests.

The advice was informed by Scottish Government discussion with Solar, the Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland.

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

Find out more about the campaign here.

Watch an animation from the Play Not Tests campaign here: