John Swinney ready to 'ignore Parliament' over P1 testing

The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said the Scottish government would go ahead with their standardised testing of Primary 1 pupils, even if the government would to lose a vote on the matter in the Scottish Parliament.

“Parliamentary motions are not binding on the government, the only thing that’s binding on the government is legislation." said Swinney.

“So, we’ll reflect on whatever parliament produces on Wednesday in the debate but we will make the very strong, evidenced argument for primary one standardised assessments because it’s part of the integral process of learning for young people within Scotland and it’s important that we identify at the earliest possible opportunity the needs of young people and support them to overcome those challenges.”

Teachers, parents groups and opposition parties have come behind Labour's calls for the tests to be suspended, while Labour' education spokesperson Iain Gray said Swinney's statements showed he was "out of touch" on the issue.

“These desperate stunts cannot hide the fact that the SNP’s testing policy is completely discredited – parents don’t trust them and
teachers find them useless." he said.

“The idea that civil servants performing the tests to MSPs is in any way equivalent to the pressure felt by a four-year-old sitting them is utter nonsense."

“Instead of showing humility and admitting he got it wrong, the Education Secretary has again pressed on with a failing policy."

“The Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to vote to scrap these tests for primary 1 children. If the SNP government were to ignore such a vote it would simply underline how out of touch ministers are on education.”

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