Education

14.12.18

Fife Council scraps controversial P1 assessments despite harsh government opposition

Fife Council has announced that it will be scrapping the controversial standardised P1 assessments at the end of the current academic year.

At an authority meeting yesterday, councillors agreed to withdraw from the P1 Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs) scheme and replace it with Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) assessments from the beginning of school session 2019-20, but will continue to use standardised assessments for children at P4, P7, and in secondary school.

The P1 assessments were designed to replace the various different assessment arrangements used by different councils across Scotland, with the secondary aim of collecting data to see which schemes were best for raising attainment levels.

Scottish education secretary John Swinney criticised the council’s decision, arguing that P1 level pupils will now face two assessments a year rather than a single one.

“It is difficult to see how this would address the concerns raised around workload and pupil experience,” he explained. “It is, in fact, the precise opposite of what they claim they are trying to achieve and would cost taxpayers more money to double the tests P1 pupils face. That makes little sense.”

On the other hand, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), a teachers’ union, welcomed Fife Council’s decision to scrap the P1, but said “this should not be at the cost of a return to Fife's previous system of over-using standardised assessments.”

A spokesperson added: “If the council is serious about ensuring that all assessment genuinely supports learning and is committed to relieving the pressure that standardised assessment places on pupils, they should not be replacing SNSAs with a model that is potentially more damaging.”

Others, including Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, described the decision as “very sensible.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Very sensible decision by <a href="https://twitter.com/FifeCouncil?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FifeCouncil</a> <a href="https://t.co/WzY2utDkl2">https://t.co/WzY2utDkl2</a></p>&mdash; Willie Rennie (@willie_rennie) <a href="https://twitter.com/willie_rennie/status/1073222270007566336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Rennie said that, following the Scottish Parliament’s decision to end the SNP’s national assessments for P2 pupils, with criticism from teachers, parents and the EIS, “it is now up to councils to see sense.”

“Fife Council have done the right thing today. Teachers say national testing of five-year-olds wastes valuable class time and doesn’t tell them anything they do not already know. There is no logical, justifiable or democratic basis for it to continue,” the Lib Dem leader added.

“I hope that the other councils which have also been exploring putting a stop to this doomed policy will take heart from this vote.”

Top image: HPuschmann

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Newham council to set up commission into ‘astonishing failures’ amid £9m fraud allegations

15/01/2019Newham council to set up commission into ‘astonishing failures’ amid £9m fraud allegations

Newham LBC is establishing a wide-ranging commission to review its financial management in the wake of “astonishing failures of system cont... more >
Norfolk council proposes closing 38 children centres in updated proposal following backlash

15/01/2019Norfolk council proposes closing 38 children centres in updated proposal following backlash

Around 70% of children’s centres in Norfolk are set to close despite major opposition to the closures, with Norfolk County Council now prop... more >
Greater oversight of local governance needed as NAO slams government’s lack of transparency

15/01/2019Greater oversight of local governance needed as NAO slams government’s lack of transparency

Oversight of local governance systems must be improved by the government to help councils cope with increasing financial and demand pressures, ac... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

Bus franchising is the biggest power new mayors have - they should use it

15/01/2019Bus franchising is the biggest power new mayors have - they should use it

It will face opposition at first, but transitioning to a system of bus franchising is the best and only option to truly modernise transport systems across our city regions, argues Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North. England’s new metro mayors are slowly reshaping English politics. Next year, the mayors elected in 2017... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Government accountability: A year in crises

15/01/2019Government accountability: A year in crises

From Windrush to Univerisal Credit: the Institute for Government’s (IfG’s) accountability lead Benoit Guerin discusses how we can ave... more >
Rethinking public-private partnerships

15/01/2019Rethinking public-private partnerships

Trinley Walker, senior policy researcher at the New Local Government Network (NLGN) considers some different ways of approaching the relationship... more >
Fracking: divest to invest

07/01/2019Fracking: divest to invest

Deirdre Duff, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth, takes a look at local authorities’ role in fracking. The fossil fuel indu... more >
Building credit with the public sector

07/01/2019Building credit with the public sector

Mark Morrin, localism lead and principal research consultant at ResPublica, makes the case for salary-deducted lending to sit alongside a broader... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News