EIS throws down Holyrood gauntlet on large classes

14th March 2003 at 00:00
WAR has been declared on large classes by the Educational Institute of Scotland in its manifesto for the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament.

Almost every aspect of schools can be improved by reducing class sizes towards a maximum of 20, the union argues in a 16-page document published today (Friday). Scotland has larger classes than most western countries with an average of 25.5 against an OECD average of 22, it maintains.

Alana Ross, union president, said: "It is simply not possible to deliver a 21st century education with maximum class sizes that were arrived at in the middle of the last century. Teaching methods have changed almost beyond recognition and the shift in focus to the individual pupil makes it essential that teachers spend more time with each child in their class."

The union is also pressing for substantial change to the 5-14 curriculum.

There is said to be too much content and detail to allow in-depth study.

Similarly, the EIS is demanding significant cuts in assessment and and end to "narrowly focused target-setting".

The new Parliament must be explicit in moving away from league tables, the union insists.

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