The Scottish Government is to press ahead with controversial P1 tests after backing from an independent review.

John Swinney, the Education Secretary, told the Scottish Parliament the assessments would continue with some modifications.

The move follows the publication of an independent review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) by literacy expert David Reedy.

His report said: "As part of teachers’ professional judgements the P1 SNSA offers a useful standard element within the overall evidence to inform judgements about learning and teaching.

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"Despite concerns expressed about P1 SNSA data being used for high stakes purposes, the review has not found any evidence that benchmarks or P1 SNSA data are currently being used to set targets, make comparisons between schools, including league tables, or for teacher appraisal, nor that there are any plans to do so."

The review said there was "scant evidence" of children becoming upset when taking the P1 SNSA.

However, it stressed the approach taken by headteachers and teachers would make a difference to children’s "assurance" when undertaking the assessments.

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It concluded: "The review finds that P1 SNSA has potential to play a significant role in informing and enhancing teachers’ professional judgements and should be continued with modification and safeguards against a drift towards high stakes."

Mr Swinney told Holyrood: "The review has now concluded that the assessments should continue, that they can play a significant role in informing and enhancing teachers’ professional judgement - the very reason these assessments were introduced - and that there is scant evidence of children becoming upset when taking part.

“I do not suggest the review has delivered an unqualified green light to the Scottish Government in terms of P1 assessments, clearly it makes important recommendations about improvement and I am determined to take the valuable learning within the report and act upon it.

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“I hope that colleagues from across the chamber will join me in accepting Mr Reedy’s findings and in focusing, as we must, on delivering an education system in Scotland which raises attainment for all, closes the attainment gap, and enables all children and young people to fulfil their potential.”

The Scottish Government said: "We will work with Education Scotland to provide schools, local authorities and other stakeholders with a clear and definitive statement on the purpose and use of P1 SNSA for the start of the new school session in August 2019."

Mr Reedy was co-director of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust and both general secretary and president of the UK Literacy Association.