COUNCILS have been urged not to use the issue of controversial primary school testing as a “political battleground”.

The warning comes as two local authorities said they would look at withdrawing from the Scottish Government assessments in P1.

Last week, the SNP lost a crucial vote on the issue in Holyrood, but Education Secretary John Swinney told schools to continue.

Stephen McCabe, the leader of Labour-run Inverclyde Council, said education was too important to be used as a political battleground.

He said: “Every decision that councils make in education must be about what is best for the pupils and not necessarily what is in the interests of political parties.

“It is frustrating to see the amount of politicking that goes on at national level on all sides and I think it is time for politicians to take a step back and work together.”

Mr McCabe, who is also education spokesman for council umbrella body Cosla, added: “At local level every decision that is made should be in the interests of the child and I don’t think it is particularly helpful for councils to make a decision on political grounds.

“We should be listening to the educational professions in our councils and asking the education directors and their leadership teams on what their view of these assessments are before making any decisions.”

Read more: Scottish Government loses vote on P1 testing

Following Mr Swinney’s apparent decision to ignore the Scottish Parliament’s vote Aberdeen Council said it would consider withdrawing from the national P1 assessments.

East Lothian Council - which is run by a Labour minority administration - is also considering whether the council has the power to suspend the assessments.

However, a number of other councils have already said they do not intend to withdraw including Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Fife.

The assessments were introduced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after concerns over falling standards of literacy and numeracy.

While most councils were already using different sets of standardised assessments they were not designed specifically to support Curriculum for Excellence.

However, critics claim they are too stressful for the youngest pupils and run counter to the drive to introduce more play in the primary.