Scotland to remain free of national primary testing

Fears that national testing might be reintroduced to Scottish primary schools have been allayed.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon recently refused to rule out the reintroduction of national testing, while Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has talked up the move as a way of helping schools to improve.

But this afternoon, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan revealed that he had been given “categorical assurance” by the Scottish government that it would not pursue national testing.

Criticism of the Scottish education system has ramped up in recent months, with opposition politicians zeroing in on apparent failures around literacy.

Addressing his union’s annual conference, Mr Flanagan accused detractors of “seeing crisis where it doesn’t exist”.

“The recent Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy results are a case in point,” he said. “It has become commonplace to hear politicians and journalists talking about standards dropping, in a lazy, ill-informed manner which does a disservice to the hard work and success of our schools and our pupils.

“Some of the comments made recently have felt like a punch to the solar plexus, a low blow, for teachers who have worked flat out to deliver Curriculum for Excellence in the most difficult of circumstances.”

Mr Flanagan said that Scottish education was clearly not perfect, but he called for “more considered analysis” that acknowledged, for example, that nearly 90 per cent of P7s are performing well or very well in literacy.

“There was a headline drop in the figures, true, which is always disappointing, and it was seized upon by the glass-half-empty brigade to say that all is doomed,” he added.

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