Nicola Sturgeon “bowed” to teaching unions on exams

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon . Picture: PA
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon . Picture: PA
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NICOLA Sturgeon is facing fresh pressure to publish new national tests scores for younger pupils amid claims she bowed to pressure from teaching unions not to make the results public.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson highlighted the claim in an internal document from the EIS teaching union on the Scottish Government’s proposed national Improvement Framework (NIF) which includes plans to test P1, P4, P7 and S3 pupils. It is part of a drive to close the attainment gaps between rich and poor areas which Ms Sturgeon says is the issue she wants to be “judged on” as First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon has initially indicated the tests results would be made public. It has since emerged they will form part of an overall assessment by teachers of how many pupils are reaching the standard required by the new curriculum. This assessment will be made public.But the EIS advice note for teachers said union chiefs made “strong representation” against publication of the test scores. This resulted in the final version of the NIF indicating that “standardised test scores will not be collected (other than on an anonymised sampling basis) nor published”.

Supporters of publishing say the information is needed to identify which schools are struggling and need to be targeted for support. Opponents, like the teaching unions, say it will lead to the return of league tables.

Ms Davidson said at First Ministers Questions yesterday that the Scottish Government has “watered down” plans for standardised assessments after pressure from teaching unions.

But the First Minister added: “All of the data that the National Information Framework says will be gathered and published will be gathered and published.”

The EIS has urged politicians to stop treating schools as a “battleground for their own often narrow agendas” after yesterday’s clash which came days after new figures showed numeracy levels in Scotland’s schools have fallen.

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