Teacher to pupil ratio matters more than small classes

2nd October 2009 at 01:00

I welcome the Government's announcement last week that it intends to cap P1 class sizes at 25, but schools in pressure areas will need flexibilty.

I called for legislation in June because we were having problems keeping class sizes in line with Government guidance, so I'm pleased these steps are being taken.

The situation as it stands is a dogs' breakfast which causes inconstancy and unfairness in the system. Schools need to know where they stand when setting classes and, without legislation, the situation would undoubtedly get much worse.

Our P1 target of a 25-pupil maximum works well, so I'm again pleased the limit isn't any lower as affordability would become a major issue. I am sceptical about the benefits of going lower anyway, other than in certain circumstances.

The important thing is to have a healthy ratio of teachers to pupils so we can offer a quality education and deliver A Curriculum for Excellence.

In some of our schools which have full catchments, team teaching works exceptionally well. A class may be larger, but the ratio of teachers to pupils is much lower and pupils benefit from the skills of more than one teacher.

Marilyne MacLaren, education leader, City of Edinburgh Council.

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