Class sizes 'unacceptable'

21st April 2006 at 01:00
David Henderson reports from the education debates at the STUC in Perth

"Good is not good enough," Jack Barnett, president of the Educational Institute of Scotland, told delegates. Scotland was among the top performers in western Europe in educational performance but much more could be done with smaller classes.

International research showed what parents and pupils knew - that smaller classes lead to better pupil motivation and behaviour and higher attainment.

Yet in a European league table of 21 countries, Scotland sat 19th in terms of average class sizes in primary. "Only Ireland and England have a higher average," Mr Barnett declared.

Many primary and secondary classes still had up to 33 pupils, "unrealistic and unacceptable to us". Mr Barnett said: "Class sizes set in the 1960s and 1970s do not meet the requirements of teaching and learning in 2006."

A Curriculum for Excellence focused on individual pupils and a more personal approach by teachers. "With the best will in the world, how can teachers provide that level of individual attention with class sizes of up to 33 pupils?" he asked.

Mr Barnett praised the Scottish Executive for cutting class sizes in early primary and in maths and English in early secondary but called for further cuts across all classes beyond 2007 when the new limits are introduced.

Elaine Henderson, Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said many more teachers would need to be recruited to meet class size limits of 20 in her subject, maths, and more classrooms would be needed despite falling rolls.

* Schools should only book theatre companies that employ actors on either industry standards or union contracts, Kate McCall, Equity, said. There was a proliferation of small companies in schools but actors were often working for pound;100 a week on substandard or exploitative contracts.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now