Education (Scotland) Bill passed by Holyrood

The Education (Scotland) Bill has been passed by Scottish Government, including new legislation for national testing in literacy and numeracy at primary and secondary level.

Education Secretary Angela Constance hailed the reforms as a ‘significant milestone for education’, which includes the introduction of a National Improvement Framework, aimed at improving attainment through a more structured national testing system.

Additionally, the Bill also places a duty on local authorities to reduce the attainment gap between pupils from different backgrounds.

Campaigners at Children in Scotland have criticised the new national testing, claiming it is not appropriate for primary school pupils.

Similar sentiments have been echoed by Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur, who said: "I would urge the government to heed the calls of teaching unions, teachers and parents to drop plans for national standardised testing in primary schools."

Constance has defended the plans, claiming that a national approach would improve the consistency of information. She said: "The common thread across this Bill's measures is a focus and concern to create an education system that is wholly centred and focused on children's interests and needs.

"The Bill places a strong duty on education authorities and ministers to address inequalities of outcome, it makes explicit the link between those inequalities and socio-economic disadvantage. That marks a significant milestone for education in this country in that we are now utterly focused on there being duties on national and local government to act to reduce the impact of poverty and inequality on children's learning."

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