Union leaders back ‘bold’ Fife Council over decision to scrap P1 tests

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP pictured during the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business: Primary 1 Tests. in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh  19 September 2018  . Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP pictured during the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business: Primary 1 Tests. in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh 19 September 2018 . Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Fife Council’s decision to scrap P1 testing has been welcomed by teachers’ union leaders.

The controversial move meant they became first local authority in Scotland to pull out of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) – and face a showdown with the Scottish Government.

Now Fife EIS has added its voice to the on-going debate, and it has backed the decision to halt the tests which are funded by Holyrood, and are meant to help teachers understand any issues a young P1 pupil may be having,

It hailed the move as “a bold decision.”

David Farmer, of the union, said: “We applaud the decision by Fife Council to discontinue SNSA assessment for P1 pupils.

“It was a bold decision by elected members which opens the door for further discussions between Fife EIS and the education saervice to achieve a situation where children in P1 are assessed within the principles of Curriculum for Excellence.”
He added: “Fife EIS acknowledges that there is still work to be done here. A return to the former testing regime is not acceptable.

The decision revealed the first major split in the Labour-SNP joint administration which runs the Kingdom.

While the SNP backed the Scottish Government tests, LAbour, Tory and Lib Dem councillors united to defeat them after months of wrangling.

In October councillors voted to stop the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) and ordered their education director to report on how that could be achieved.

November’s meeting of the education committee delivered a U-turn – and then, last week, councillors have voted for a second time to scrap the tests.

The move was formally tabled by David Ross, Labour’s co-leader of the council.

He believes that the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIP) method already used is a better way of assessing youngsters – and said the system was backed by parents, teachers and trades unions.

SNP councillors argued for retaining the tests, but were defeated as all other parties voted against.