A BBC Scotland complaint: P1 assessment falsehoods

Complaint submitted on Nov 4th, 2018

This complaint relates to broadcasts on Good Morning Scotland and Reporting Scotland on October 25th.

On October 25th various BBC Scotland presenters, referring to a motion on P1 assessments, claimed Holyrood had voted to “abandon the system”, “scrap” and “drop” P1 assessments. The broadcasts appeared on the early morning Reporting Scotland and the Good Morning Scotland radio programme.

Holyrood has never voted to abandon, scrap or drop P1 assessments. The motion voted on 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”

There is no point in reconsidering evidence and approach if the policy has already been abandoned.

On Good Morning Scotland listeners were told that “…the EIS has said all along that it wants these tests scrapped”. This is untrue. The EIS had specific concerns about P1 assessments immediately prior to and after their introduction but did not call for them to be scrapped at the outset.

In 2017 EIS chief Larry Flanagan said: “It is essential that all local authorities demonstrate their commitment to young people’s learning, and that must include a commitment to utilise the new standardised assessments appropriately rather than seeking to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach by forcing all pupils to take the assessments at the same point of time.”

There is more evidence showing the EIS did not immediately call for P1 assessments to be scrapped. However the above quote should suffice for the purposes of this complaint.


Response from Deputy Head of News and Current Affairs received Nov 30th

I have listened again to Newsdrive and cannot agree with your exclusive definition of “all along” as “always”. In good idiomatic English “all along” can be taken as a reference to the current running story to which the presenter was referring, and that is the way I interpreted it.

As to your references to our description of the outcome of the Holyrood decisions on P1 assessments or tests, I refer you to our answers to CAS-5094758-9BY4MG and CAS-5131177-SZW4Z7.

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