Education authorities have right to set policy

31st October 2008 at 00:00

In your report, "Class size limit of 18 meaningless" (September 19), on legal cases successfully challenging class size limits, you quoted me as saying that councils should lead their cases in court on policy and educational grounds, as opposed to more technical grounds of additional expenditure.

TESS readers might have inferred from this that it was a criticism of councils and, in particular, of the council that was at the centre of the arguments in the article, namely East Lothian. I would like to make it clear that no criticism was intended or implied.

I know that East Lothian Council presented a number of arguments for refusing this particular placing request - including ones that referred to the quality of education in smaller classes.

Ultimately, sheriffs determine cases, based on what is presented to them by the individual appellant and by the legal team directing the court to relevant legislation and previous cases.

However, there is no doubt that education authorities have the right to set policy: individual judgments are not deliberative, nor do they determine policy or statute.

I hope this goes some way to clarifying my position.

John Stodter, general secretary, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today