Aberdeen council to defy John Swinney and scrap P1 school tests

Aberdeen council has flagged its intention to defy Scottish education secretary John Swinney and scrap P1 tests. Picture: John Devlin
Aberdeen council has flagged its intention to defy Scottish education secretary John Swinney and scrap P1 tests. Picture: John Devlin
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Council leaders in Aberdeen have signalled their intention to scrap controversial tests for P1 younsters.

Local authority politicians are seeking to find out “the options that are available to us as an education authority” after Holyrood voted in favour of halting standardised national assessments for four and five-year-olds.

Education secretary John Swinney said afterwards he would “consider” that, but stressed schools should continue to make plans for the assessments.

READ MORE: John Swinney urges Scots schools to continue P1 tests despite vote

He was also clear the Scottish Government “still believes assessment is an important part of improvement agenda”.

Opposition leaders at Holyrood have already demanded Mr Swinney respect the wishes of Parliament, even though the 63 to 61 vote was not binding on the Government.

Now politicians in Aberdeen have echoed that call with Jenny Laing, Labour co-leader of the authority, saying the SNP should “respect the will of the Scottish Parliament”.

Her message comes after teaching unions and others raised concerns about testing pupils in their first year of primary school, with some teachers claiming the assessments had left youngsters in tears.

Ms Laing and Conservative co-leader Douglas Lumsden have now written to the council’s chief executive Angela Scott to find out if the authority can halt the tests using delegated powers.

Mr Lumsden said: “For months now we’ve heard from teachers, staff and parents about opposition to these tests.

“Following the vote on Wednesday, we are now asking for the options that are available to us as an education authority.

“The SNP’s poor record on education and failure to listen to experts – as well as parents – is simply unacceptable.”

Ms Laing said: “Trade Unions, parents, teachers and now the Scottish Parliament have made their opposition to these tests clear.

“As a local authority, we have a responsibility to serve the best interests of our children. Once the options available to us are clear, we will consider our next steps.

“In the meantime, we would call on the SNP Government to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament.”