New class size limit of 25 in Primary 1 : Maximum can still be exceeded

1 October 2010

Marlyn Glen has been advised by the Scottish Government that parents will retain the right of appeal against class sizes in primary 1 being set at a legal maximum of 25 proposed for the next school session, 2011-2012.

Despite new regulations setting class sizes at a legal maximum of 25, it has now been established that parents can still appeal, as before, to have their child placed in the class.

If successful, this would bring the number of pupils above the new legal limit.

Ms. Glen queried how the proposed new 25 limit in primary one classes would affect the prospects of a pupil moving into the catchment area of a school where all of the P1 classes had 25 pupils.

(At present there are three primary schools in Dundee where all P1 classes have 25 pupils, Eastern , Fintry and St. Andrews.)

Would this mean, as from next year, that the local council could say that there was no place for the child at that school because of legal maximum being set at 25 pupils?

Scottish Government sources indicated that families are moving in and out of catchment areas all the time and under the Accepted Pupil Provisions, local authorities can allow the number of pupils in the class to exceed 25 as any ‘excess’ pupils are not counted in the first year.

This is allowed for in the regulations.

These pupils would be counted in any subsequent years.

Ms. Glen said,

"The SNP’s political intention behind this new maximum of 25 is to try and give the impression that they are achieving something new and remarkable.

"However, their own figures, by their definitions, show that 93 per cent of P1 pupils are already in classes that are 25 or under.

"This is to try to distract attention away from major problems in education such as their broken promise to reduce all P1-P3 classes to 18, probationer teachers unable to find jobs in Dundee schools, and the overall drop in the number of teachers. "

Ms. Glen is raising the matter with Education Secretary Mike Russell.

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