FMQs: Sturgeon on the defensive over testing of kids as young as five

The first minister was today urged to drop standardised test, which opponents say has left children as young as five in tears.

At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard had raised the issue of Scottish National Standardised Assessments for primary school pupils.

These tests have have described by the educational charity Upstart as an ‘adverse childhood experience.’

Leonard quoted a primary teacher from Edinburgh, who said the tests do nothing to improve attainment and waste valuable teaching time.

“Scotland’s teachers have told me how young confident children are “crushed” by these tests and there have been reports of children being driven to tears.” he said.

“The educational charity Upstart says these tests are not only pointless and highly counterproductive but worse they are an ‘adverse childhood experience’.

“At SNP conference John Swinney claimed that we are seeing the start of a renaissance in Scottish education. This ‘renaissance’ is driving primary school children to tears.

“These tests have been flawed from the very start. Delivered late, £2 million over budget and have led to weeks of valuable teaching time lost.

“Nicola Sturgeon should put pupils first and scrap these standardised tests for five-year-olds.”

The first minister responded by defending the tests, although she was unable to answer the questions that Leonard quoted from the examinations.

Sturgeon argued that it was “shameful” to attack the tests in that way, and said that she had met many happy young people when she had toured Scotland's primary schools, clearly the most objective way of assessing these things. 

The first minister also turned her fire on Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, predicting that the Tories "will pay a very, very heavy political price and they will deserve to" over the Westminster parliament's handling of the devolution of European powers.

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