BBC Scotland under fire after falsely claiming MSPs voted to scrap P1 assessments

BBC Scotland has come under fire on social media after falsely claiming MSPs had voted to scrap standardised assessments for Primary 1 pupils.

Following a vote in the Scottish parliament, which witnessed the Scottish government narrowly defeated, newsreader Jackie Bird said: “MSPs vote to scrap primary one assessments.  The education secretary says he’ll reflect on the decision.”

The false claim was also broadcast on the early evening radio programme Newsdrive.  Listeners heard the newsreader say: “MSPs have voted in favour of scrapping standard assessments for primary one children in Scotland.  By sixty three votes to sixty one, Holyrood agreed the system could be abandoned.”


However the motion did not in fact call for Primary 1 assessments to be scrapped or abandoned, but rather called for them to be halted pending a review of evidence by the Scottish government.

The motion, from Tory MSP Liz Smith called “… on the Scottish Government to halt the tests in P1 and to reconsider the evidence and the whole approach to evaluating the progress of P1 pupils.”

The motion calling for P1 assessments to be scrapped was lodged the previous week by Labour MSP iain Gray, but was not the subject of a vote.  The Labour MSP’s motion had read simply: “That the Parliament believes that standardised assessments for P1 pupils should be scrapped.”

The false statement by Jackie Bird follows a similar false broadcast last month when viewers heard the presenter state that Scottish GDP had “roughly matched” the GDP of the rest of the UK for the first quarter of 2018.

She said: “Growth in the Scottish economy was stronger at the start of this year than previously thought. Figures published today show that it roughly matched the growth rate of the UK as a whole.”

In fact Scotland’s GDP was 0.4% for the first quarter, which was double the corresponding UK figure of 0.2%, and did not a ‘roughly match’ the UK figure.

The latest false claim from BBC Scotland on the P1 issue has prompted more accusations of bias against the broadcaster.

One critic said: “They hope people that know better aren’t watching so they can tell their lies.”

Another demanded BBC Scotland correct the false reports: “BBC needs to correct false information, the P1 checks have not been abandoned or cancelled. Please report accurately”

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11 thoughts on “BBC Scotland under fire after falsely claiming MSPs voted to scrap P1 assessments

  1. Robert Graham

    A little question how can you find out how any pupil is doing if an assessment is not carried out, and a standard one at that, A total 360 by the Tory party.

    Anything that can be used to attack the present government even if it causes harm to ordinary people’s lives will and is being used as a political weapon , I really hope people are taking notice of what these mostly Unionist parties are up to .

    This Green Party better hope an election is far away ,because their actions are not going unnoticed, the trick that was pulled last time ” lend us your vote ” will be remembered for what it was ,”a trick ” They will be lucky to have even one MSP next time , so enjoy it while you can Patrick .

    1. Susan Smith

      Indeed yes. I was thinking of giving them my list vote in 2016, ( but there weren’t any Greens standing in my area), but there’s no way I’d even think of it now.

  2. John

    If you watched the debate as I did , you would have seen from the outset that all the opposition parties ( including the Green’s ) , by their tone and statements , were not there to debate , they were there to give the SNP, and John Swinney in particular a kicking . They did the same thing with Shona Robinson until they had her removed , their target now is John Swinney . It has nothing to do with P1 assessments , this is still going on in Labour and Tory councils for years , it’s just that they are not standardised across the country , the way John Swinney would like them to be to give a better understanding of how ALL children are doing in their early years .
    It is totally to do with political exploitation by all the party’s at Holyrood to once again do what they are best at , kicking the SNP , they are a disgrace to our country and to our children !

  3. Clapper57

    Just watched video on twitter with Ruth Davidson in 2015 where she criticises SNP for not introducing ‘testing’ of primary school pupils in primary schools where she cites reference to this being done in Denmark & Canada….with Liz Smith in background of video …nodding her head in agreement.

    So what happened ?

    Why the change of mind….why in 2015 was she so adamant that SNPBAAAD for not measuring progress of children via assessments ( though she used word testing) ?

    Why have the BBC not highlighted this to viewers…and then question her as to why they, the Tories, indeed she herself have changed their/her mind/s ?

    This is example of their duplicity ….both Ruth D / Tories and BBC …..SNP must enforce this point to enlighten the members of the public , who thanks very much to the BBC, will be oblivious of this information.

    Flip Flop Ruth strikes again……but she gets away with it AGAIN….thanks to her pals in the media…..Tories in Scotland the U Turn party. Do as I say not as I do.

    Not forgetting their HQ party support primary school pupil assessments in England.

  4. Alasdair Macdonald

    This brouhaha about assessments for P1 children is a creation of the EIS and their cat’s paws in the Scottish Labour Party. The Scottish Conservatives are being cynically and hypocritically and opportunistic in this given the party’s repeated and, indeed, continuing support for TESTING, primarily as a mechanism of control.

    (I am making a distinction between ‘assessment’ and ‘testing’, with the former, being a way of getting information to evaluate how successful a particular approach has been and/or to get evidence on which to plan a strategy, whereas the latter is used as a judgement on the child and the teacher.)

    Parents, as well as teachers, continually asses their children. It is essential to good child rearing. However, we are all idiosyncratic to various degrees and can sometimes be assessing that our own prejudices are being transmitted! The purpose of standardised testing is to eliminate these biases.

    It is pretty difficult to write or produce good assessment items – having been involved in it over several decades – and the standardised assessments actually contain items which pretty much actually assess for what they claim to be assessing.

    The EIS is seeking to prevent its members from being held to account. There is some validity in that, because the Tory TESTING is intended to be use to blame and control. However, like many professional bodies they tend towards perverting the aims of schools (i.e. to benefit CHILDREN) to serve the interests of teachers (for example look at how much playground space is taken up by parked teachers’ cars!P

  5. Jockanese Wind Talker

    They are still pushing the “voted to scrap” line this morning.

    An additional SNP now “ignoring the will of the Scottish Parliament by refusing to scrap these ‘tests” line of attack being propagated.

    Aberdeen City’s British Nationalist Coalition Council now seeking legal advice on refusing to deliver these (despite assessing P1s for years just not to a National standard).

    Heard Tory Deputy Leader of ACC on Radio Shortbreid this morning saying “what is the point of the Scottish Parliament if the SNP Government don’t respect the results of votes that go against them”.

    Coordinated BritNat campaign to abolish Holyrood post Brexit and a return to Direct Rule from Westminster’s Neo Facist Right Wing Government now underway as a few of us predicted.

    UK Government in Scotland will be our version of Vichy with Mundell or more likely Colonel Yadaftie installed as Governor General.

      1. Jockanese Wind Talker

        Whichever one of them is given the job of ‘running’ North Britain following Brexit and the disillusion of the Scottish Parliament the most appropriate title would be;


        I am however ever hopeful that Independence will happen and Fluffy will be known to history as The Last Viceroy of Scotland.

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