Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP has said the SNP Government stonewalling and deliberately confusing parents over their right to withdraw their children from national testing is completely at odds with the Education Secretary's new parental engagement plan, published today.
The Scottish Government’s engagement plan is intended to help “address barriers some parents may face” and "enhance the role of parents in their child's education". However, as the Scottish Liberal Democrats highlighted last week, barriers include the failure to tell parents key information about their rights and their child's schooling.
The Scottish Government's leaflet for parents didn't tell them of their right to withdraw their child from national testing. Those that queried this directly were repeatedly not given a straight answer. In an effort to quash a parental boycott the government now says they have "no formal legal right" to withdraw their children, despite emails showing this flatly contradicts the advice given by the project's top civil servant.
Tavish Scott said:
"Parental involvement is critical to children's learning and there are countless examples of their going the extra mile to help with all sorts of activities.
"However, the engagement of parents also depends on the Scottish Government being straight with them. SNP ministers have been anything but when it comes to their rights and the value of national testing for P1s. It has resorted to stonewalling then deliberately confusing them in an effort to quash a parental boycott.
"One of the recommendations in the plan published today is to support parents to participate in the assessment and reporting process. Trampling over parents on national tests is completely at odds with that and, just like the tests for P1s, it needs to stop."