Opposition parties sided with the Tories today at Holyrood in this afternoon’s debate on standardised Primary 1 assessments.
Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs put political point scoring ahead of driving up standards in schools. The Tories sought to rewrite history in bringing this debate to parliament, with Ruth Davidson MSP stating that her party has “opposed these P1 tests from the start.”; even though her own party’s 2016 manifesto called on the SNP Government to “design the new standardised tests at P1”. Regardless of the political party or grouping of parties in office, 29 out of Scotland’s 32 local authorities already used assessments at Primary 1 before these were standardised by the SNP Government to provide consistency and an important means for all teachers to identify a child’s next steps in learning.
Commenting after today’s vote, Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “The opposition parties at Holyrood are guilty of the most appalling hypocrisy; siding with the Tories to oppose a policy many of them in local government actually agree with, in an attempt to score political points. “The facts are these: the SNP Government introduced P1 assessments because they are a tool we need to track pupils’ progress and help drive up standards in our schools. “The Tories put standardised P1 assessments in their manifesto; Tory-run councils across Scotland already assessed kids from P1; so do Labour councils. “Labour and the Lib Dems have sided with the Tories in their political gamesmanship and sought to prey on the anxieties of parents, just to grab a headline. It’s depressing that they all stood willing to do so at the expense of children's education. “When it comes to educating our young people, we should be united in an ambition to drive up standards, not exploiting these issues for political gain. “The SNP – the party which is serious about education as our number one priority in government – will continue to deliver what’s best for teachers and parents, and most importantly for our young people across Scotland.”