Charity calls for P1 test plans to be scrapped

P1 tests

Upstart is calling on MSPs to vote in support of scrapping tests for children in primary one

19th September 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has backed scrapping controversial tests for primary one pupils.

Upstart is calling on MSPs to vote in support of scrapping tests for children in P1. 

The education charity, backed by a selection of experts in the field, has campaigned against the tests on the basis that children in P1 need ‘Play Not Tests’. 

The campaign has gathered widespread support and will culminate in a vote in Scottish Parliament today.  It is expected that all opposition parties will vote against the government line on the introduction of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments to include four and five year old children in P1.

MSPs will vote on a Conservative motion calling for a halt to the tests after a debate. All four opposition parties have stated opposition to the policy - so if all members are present, the minority government will be defeated.

The largely symbolic motion does not bind the government to any action, but Education Secretary John Swinney said he would "reflect on whatever parliament produces".

The tests for P1s have prompted wide comment and concern with reports about the distress caused to many children sitting the SNSA tests.  The EIS and Connect (formerly the Scottish Parent Teacher Council) have both produced evidence of the concern and stress caused by the tests.

Sue Palmer, Upstart founder and chair, said: “Our only interest is what is best for our children’s early learning.  There is ample evidence that this is best developed through play, at least up to the age of seven years. 

“The government know this, yet it has stopped listening to the evidence in the pursuit of its testing regime for our youngest children. We welcome the cross-party support opposing the tests and really do hope that the government comes to its senses on this one.”

Upstart’s main campaign focus is on the introduction of a play-based learning kindergarten stage in Scottish education up to the age of seven years.  It believes starting school at the age of four or five causes problems for many children.