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Problem with non-teachers in primaries

You reported (December 2431) that Renfrewshire is considering replacing some 60 teachers, who currently cover the 2.5 hours non-contact time for teachers in primary schools, with sessional culture, leisure and sport staff at a saving of some pound;800,000.

This makes particularly interesting reading when set against the evidence Councillor Derek Mackay, the leader of Renfrewshire Council, gave in March to the Parliament's education committee on his authority's success in creating class sizes of 18.

He boasted proudly that, as only the ninth largest authority, "Renfrewshire Council will make the third-greatest contribution to pupils going into class sizes of 18 or fewer". Moreover, Renfrewshire was aiming at having not just 20 per cent of its P1-3 pupils in classes of 18 or less but 30 per cent, making it among "the best in Scotland when it comes to delivering on class sizes of 18 or fewer in our term of office in the middle of the worst recession since the second world war".

It was, Councillor Mackay agreed, "a political decision to put the investment in place" - an investment of pound;1.5 million.

I'm sure the 60 teachers who are now at risk of losing their jobs will be pleased to know that they have helped Renfrewshire to deliver this political decision so successfully and become the best in Scotland when it comes to small class sizes.

Judith Gillespie, Findhorn Place, Edinburgh.

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