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Why young children need Play Not Tests

Children in Scotland is supporting the new Upstart Scotland campaign, Play Not Tests, which launched yesterday.

As part of the campaign, Upstart has published a dossier calling for the Scottish Government to abandon formal testing in P1 and instead endorse “the play-based pedagogy outlined in the Curriculum for Excellence”.

Sue Palmer, Chair of Upstart Scotland and author of Toxic Childhood and Detoxing Childhood, said the data provided by testing children as young as five has “little or no statistical value”.

Children in Scotland supports the campaign calls. We have consistently been critical of the decision to implement standardised testing at the early stage of primary school.

Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“We’ve been cautious about the National Improvement Framework since it was announced, and have raised particular concerns about the standardised tests already taking place as early as P1.

“Testing children as young as four or five is not appropriate for their age or stage of development, and evidence suggests such high pressure can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing. While we understand the value of assessment for teaching and learning, we remain unconvinced it is necessary at such a young age.

“We are already hearing concerns from teachers that the approach is at best a distraction from learning and development and at worst a stressful waste of time for both teachers and pupils. Will there be an evaluation to see if this approach is delivering benefits that merit the investment of time and money involved?”, she asked.

Children in Scotland is amongst a range of organisations publicly supporting Upstart Scotland’s campaign.

Others who have spoken out include the EIS teaching union, charity Play Scotland and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.


Upstart Scotland

Find out more about 'Play Not Tests' campaign on the Upstart Scotland website.

Visit the website

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In September 2017 we published a comment piece on P1 assessments.

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