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EIS will target class sizes

A "RADICAL reduction" in class sizes is the single most important priority for schools in the next 10 years, Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said this week.

Mr Smith used his platform at a special EIS conference in Edinburgh yesterday (Thursday), the union's contribution to the national debate on education, to assert the primacy of the teacher against the onward march of technology.

He said that, despite the "247" availability of e-mail and the Internet, schools would still require the capacity to respond - and that must mean smaller classes.

The "sorry spectacle" of some secondary schools turning the clock back to setting and streaming was an attempt to square the circle of trying to be sensitive to the needs of individual pupils while being compelled for economic reasons to organise classes of up to 33.

Although Mr Smith steered well clear of aligning the union with the SNP policy of cutting infant classes to 18, he talked in similar terms about going beyond the Executive's reduction in P1-P3 from 33 to 30 pupils and making "radical and far deeper cuts across all stages".

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