Equality in class sizes

24th January 1997 at 00:00
In the quest for equity among teachers, several welcome changes have been incorporated within the profession over many years. Although gender equality has long been recognised in salaries, a long period of time elapsed before ordinary and honours graduates and primary and secondary teachers were paid on a common salary scale.

The six-point salary scale for promoted staff (of principal teacher and beyond) is a recognition of the relationship between school population size and workload. This recognition should be extended to the so-called "practicalnon-practical" classes in secondary schools. The current practical class size of 20 is a commendable long-term aim, but in the shorter term a more feasible common maximum of 25 should be accepted as policy.

In a constantly changing and evolving educational environment, where a "child-centred" approach has become the norm, the differences between practical and non-practical class teaching methods have become insignificant. In view of this, the next logical step is to implement equity in class sizes across the curriculum.

Despite potentially difficult aspects of implementation this should be acknowledged on both sides of the bargaining table.

ANDREW NELSON Scarletmuir, Lanark

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