Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today marked the one year anniversary of the Scottish Parliament voting to halt national testing of four and five-year-olds, by questioning the First Minster on ignoring the will of parliament and accusing the SNP of “a devious and damaging” refusal to halt the tests.
The Scottish Parliament voted to halt the tests on 19 September 2018 and in its wake a number of councils indicated that they wished to respect the will of Parliament.
A review of the policy was published on 11 June 2019, in which the Education Secretary announced that more guidance would be published for teachers but stopped short of halting the policy in line with the view expressed by Parliament. However, highly critical feedback from teachers was not published until 27 August 2019.
Speaking after FMQs, Mr Rennie said:
“The First Minister said that education was her top priority but she has now ignored teachers, parents and campaigners for a full year. Education professionals are clear that Thatcherite national testing of four and five-year-olds is a waste of time.
“What’s more, it speaks extremely poorly of her government that they have chosen to fly in the face of a clear parliamentary vote. This is devious and damaging behaviour from the SNP. Their reviews have been whitewashes.
“Teachers are clear that the SNP’s national tests for P1s tell them nothing they do not already know. They are exasperated by what a waste of time they are. The SNP should scrap the tests before another year of P1 pupils have to go through them.”