Strike ballot threat

2nd July 2004 at 01:00
The class size issue will continue to dominate political debate as Peter Peacock mounted a strong attack on plans by the Educational Institute of Scotland to hold a strike ballot if no progress is made on negotiating class size maxima of 20.

The Education Minister declared during parliamentary exchanges: "Parents in Scotland would be aghast if teachers were to go on strike when class sizes are falling; when further class size reductions are planned; when there are more adults in Scottish classrooms than there have ever been; when there are more support staff in schools; when there is the best pupil to teacher ratio that there has been for many years, if not at any time; when teachers' class contact time with their pupils is being reduced; when there is more time for preparation and marking in our schools; when there is more time for continuing professional development; and when we are recruiting more teachers.

"Those are not reasons to go on strike. They are reasons to celebrate the progress that we have made."

The pressure on ministers will remain, however, as was underlined today by Michael Russell, our regular Platform author who has declared his candidature in the SNP's leadership contest. In his latest contribution, he called for a 10-year plan to cut class sizes.

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