P1 Assessments – BBC Scotland’s lies and omissions

On September 19th a vote took place in the Scottish parliament.  The vote was on a motion lodged by Tory MSP Liz Smith.  The motion can be seen below.

The motion very clearly calls 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 is clear and unambiguous.  The reporting from BBC Scotland of this issue has been anything but.  Below are a collection of lies, half-truths and omissions that have stained the broadcaster’s already tarnished reputation.




Sept 19th – Radio Scotland bulletin


Sept 19th – Reporting Scotland intro

Both broadcasts are demonstrably false.  MSPs did not vote to scrap P1 assessments.  They voted to halt P1 assessments pending a reconsideration of the evidence.  Indeed there would be no point in reconsidering evidence if the policy has been scrapped.




On Sept 13th, the First Minister highlighted the 2016 manifesto during FMQ’s.

The revelation never featured on that evening’s Reporting Scotland.

On Sept 18th and 19th Reporting Scotland covered the issue.

Missing from both reports was any mention of the 2016 Scottish Tory manifesto.  The manifesto contained demands relating to P1 assessments.  The manifesto can be seen below.

Ruth Davidson, May and September 2015

BBC Scotland has never shown these clips or made any reference to them.




Newsdrive October 25th


Reporting Scotland, morning, October 25th

MSPs have never voted to scrap, abandon or drop P1 assessments.


Newsdrive, October 25th


MSPs have never voted to scrap P1 assessments.

The EIS has not always called for P1 assessments to be scrapped.  Below is an excerpt from a BBC article from 2017 which contains comments from the head of the EIS Larry Flanagan on the subject of P1, P3, P4 and S3 assessments.


Reporting Scotland, evening, October 25th

MSPs have never voted to scrap P1 assessments.




BBC Scotland defended its claim that MSPs had voted to scrap P1 assessments.  Part of its defence was passed to us by the complainant and is shown below.

In saying what her [Liz Smith] motion asked, you omitted the words after her call on the Scottish Government to halt the tests and reconsider the evidence, which were “and the whole approach to evaluating the progress of P1 pupils”.


If you take those omitted words with what Ms Smith said a short time after moving her motion – “With regard to international measurements, many of the countries that are doing exceptionally well on educational standards do not start measuring until children are seven. Does that fact that they are doing better than Scotland not prove a point?” – I think you will find a rather different picture from the one you are trying to paint.


I therefore regard our reporting as fair and as a reasonable portrayal of what was said and done in the chamber that day.

What this means is that BBC Scotland is not looking at the motion in isolation.  It is including comments made by Liz Smith during the debate in the chamber.  In doing so, BBC Scotland has corrupted the actual meaning of the motion.  It has very deliberately misled its audience.

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10 thoughts on “P1 Assessments – BBC Scotland’s lies and omissions

  1. Petra

    ”It (BBC) has very deliberately misled its audience.”

    And so it goes on day after day after day. It’s an absolute disgrace and yes they know exactly what they’re doing. When we get our own SBS these people will be ”outed” for the charlatans that they are. Hang your heads in shame, folks.

  2. Chris

    It’s worth taking it up the line in terms of the BBC complaints structure. Ultimately they may still back their original report but at least it gives you a chance to explain why you think their current position is wrong and get someone else to take a fresh look at it.

    I’ve had mixed experience of going ‘up the chain’, but it has worked occasionally.

  3. Robert Graham

    The BBC in Scotland never gives up 24/7 relentless misinformation with one aim protect the union at all costs truth ,is just an impediment to their aim of removing the freely elected Scottish Government

  4. twathater

    TBH folks unless and until the SNP SG address the continued lies , misinformation , deliberate exclusion of facts by the bbc and stv’s broadcasts we will NEVER gain our independence .

    Over on WOS anyone who offers an opinion or view that the SNP are not addressing this problem with enough seriousness or are not doing enough to combat this poisonous brainwashing is met with either derision , scorn or accusations of being a troll or unionist .

    The usual excuses that the broadcasters either don’t interview SNP reps or the broadcasts have been edited , or the interviewer kept on interrupting are just that , excuses , even when posters offer up that at FMQ the broadcast is ” live ” so the opportunity to ridicule and expose the bias is there , explanations or excuses are given that even live broadcasts have seconds of delay built in or toodleoo the noo talks over the broadcast .

    I have great respect for Nicola and our SG and trust her implicitly , I am a committed independence supporter , I also thank and admire this site and other people who continuously hold the bbc liars to account by submitting numerous letters of complaint which I have also previously done , but honestly they just don’t care , they treat us with contempt , knowing full well that we cannot reach the full population , we are a flea bite on a coos erse

    And at this part I can with regret admit that I feel Nicola and the SNP SG are letting us down , Keith Brown promised a rebuttal unit that would expose and destroy the lies and misinformation , where is it , what is the progress , we are heading for the cliff edge
    Someone somewhere put forward an idea to replicate the LBC James o’Brian radio show , only a Scottish version to compete with bbc , surely we have the tech ability with the SNP SG to do that under the auspices of truth telling

    Anyway unless Nicola and the SNP SG start to grow a pair and FORCE the lying broadcasters to repent the establishment will carry on carrying on

    1. John

      With you all the way on what you say twathater , I have been saying for the last two years at least they will need to up their game , voiced it at SNP meeting . There are grumbles around about it from people but no one takes it seriously, big mistake , the more people are fed these lies the more they believe them , people are gullable , remember 2014 . Disappointed Keith Brown is not making any showing on these things , I expect better !

  5. Col

    What will all these agents of Westminster do when Scotland becomes independent? Like the nazi’s who said they were just following orders there feable excuses will mean nothing. They simply shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a new Scottish broadcaster as they have fought for too long against Scotland and basically in the interests of our neighbour. They know exactly what they are doing. We need to have an inquiry to find out who the really bad apples are and keep them far away from any public funded broadcaster.

  6. Doug McGregor

    We have to stop railing against the BBC monolith for two reasons . We get nowhere , like a child air punching an adult holding it’s head and as many people in Scotland like parts of it’s output and value what is provided. their support for change is diluted.

    Our efforts have to be targeted on the news output we get , we need to personalise our anger on the purveyors of lies and falsehoods ,When Jackie Burd has been sacked by public acclaim then the others will be more wary and less amenable to their masters lies and propaganda. It’s not nice but then again , they’re not nice to us.

  7. millie

    The BBC is a font of expert manipulation.

    If people had true facts, in context, – SNP and Greens would lift 80% of the vote. Most people out there don’t use social media for researching factual information- many don’t use social media at all.

    The BBC is where they absorb ‘BBC Facts’- (not truth).

    This is why by-elections like Coatbridge are being lost …….. drip’ drip’ drip of distorted news ‘has’ an effect. It is being absorbed, and this will continue.

    I don’t know how Keith Brown et al will manage it, – but time is of the essence. Positive campaigning is usually the best way. However, if the true ‘facts’ are not getting out there, and manipulated, distorted reports are the norm, it is time to have a hard look at changing tactics.

    Please Keith Brown, begin by using Greenock and Inverclyde SNP posters, leaflets and billboards as a template for every local SNP group. In particular their Power Grab material. Get it out there across the country, – and ‘very’ soon.

    Currently, I don’t feel positive at all about how we are progressing. The BBC is a rancid, tabloidesque organisation, and knows every trick in the book. The sheer negativity of BBC Scotland would have put it out of business years ago, had it been a private organisation.

    BTW.- keep an eye on this programme Monday 29th Oct 7.30pm prime time TV slot on BBC 1 (not BBC2) – it looks like a perfect vehicle for misinformation, distortion and omission. (just like BBC Scotland’s reporting of Brexit)


  8. millie

    I must say I find it really sad that teachers in Scotland are on a march demanding 10% pay rise. Seriously,… 10%!

    In a time of austerity imposed by Westminster – the Scottish governments budget has been drastically cut – by Westminster. The cost of mitigation to protect people in dire poverty runs into £millions, and the cost of McConnell’s PFI is taking £billions each year from the Scottish budget.

    Most people in the private sector are ‘lucky’ to get 1%.

    Teachers in rUk are paid less than teachers in Scotland.

    English salary rates-

    Teachers in Scotland get :

    A ‘good’ salary.
    Free childcare (less so in rUK)
    Free nursery for their children (less so in rUK)
    Free school meals for their children.
    Free prescriptions. (not so in England).
    Free NHS (several procedures in NHS England are chargeable).
    No tuition fees for their children (£9000 /year in England)
    Free personal care for their elderly parents (not available in England)
    Free eye tests. (restricted in England)
    Free baby boxes (not available in England).
    No bridge tolls.
    Also available
    Bursaries for trainee nurses (not available in England)
    Higher funding for carers (not in England)

    I have come to the conclusion that the Scottish government is its own worst enemy. Scotland is protected greatly by its policies. The majority of the public in Scotland have ‘no idea’ what it is like living in England under austerity, and have no idea how much we are being protected.

    Where do the teachers think the (10%) pay rise should come? – Cutting NHS budget? Elderly care?

  9. Muscleguy

    I wonder how many of the countries who don’t test until 7 don’t start formal schooling until 7? I bet most of them. IOW they are testing new entrants too, it’s just that their new entrants are 7.

    IOW lying by omission.

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