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.

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