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A move in the wrong direction

An open letter from the Educational Institute of Scotland last week to the Education Minister

Dear Peter. I refer to the article in today's TES Scotland (November 12) in which it is stated that you are "preparing to move away from the Scottish Executive's commitment to limit English and maths classes in S1 and S2 to a strict maximum of 20 pupils by 2006".

It is stated that headteachers could be given flexibility to increase class sizes in those areas above the agreed figure of 20. The article states that you are "likely" to make an announcement on this at (this) week's annual conference of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland.

I am writing to you as a matter of urgency in the hope that you will be able to clarify the Executive's position on this matter. As you know, there was a strong welcome from teachers in general and the Educational Institute of Scotland in particular to the partnership agreement which emerged from the 2003 election, that there should be a reduction in English and maths in S1 and S2 to 20 and also a reduction in P1 to 25, together with the provision of additional specialist teachers.

Any move away from that commitment by the Executive would be greeted with astonishment and dismay by teachers and, I believe, by most parents.

I therefore believe that it is urgent that you clarify the matter as soon as possible in order to reassure parents, teachers and the Scottish public on the matter.

Ronnie Smith,

General secretary Educational Institute of Scotland

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