SCOTTISH schools were removed from two international studies on standards of maths and reading partly to save money, documents show.

In 2010 Scotland participated in three global educational surveys, but this was reduced to just one after concerns over costs.

Correspondence revealed by the Scottish Labour Party showed the move saved around £800,000.

The decision was also taken to reduce the burden on pupils at a time when Curriculum for Excellence was being rolled out.

Another justification was the introduction of the Scottish Schools Literacy and Numeracy Survey, also this too has now been scrapped.

Iain Gray, education spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party, said the documents showed John Swinney, the current Education Secretary, was behind the decision in his former role as Finance Secretary.

Mr Gray said: “The SNP removed Scotland from these internationally recognised comparative testing, not for any sound educational reason, but because Mr Swinney didn’t want to pay for them.

“The only problem is that the penny pinching Finance Secretary is, of course, now in charge of education. and has just spent £4.6 million on national standardised testing, which statisticians say cannot be aggregated.”

The 2010 documents quoted Mr Swinney stating that the OECD’s international PISA survey was a “chunky piece of external research”.

As Education Secretary he has used the study as a justification for introducing controversial standardised assessments.

However, a spokesman for Mr Swinney accused Scottish Labour of “rank hypocrisy of the worst kind”.

He said: “Labour are actively campaigning to cut assessments from Scotland’s school in the teeth of international best practice and experience while simultaneously complaining that Scotland left two international studies years ago.

“This reveals a simple truth: they are not concerned about assessments, they simply want to play politics with our schools.

“Far from standing on principle, they flip flop at every turn, posing one minute as supporters of assessment and the next as opponents.”

He said Mr Swinney was committed to OECD’s PISA survey which he described as an effective indicator of how the whole Scottish education system was performing.