SNP forced to backdown on class sizes claim

16 September 2010

The SNP have been forced to back down on their claims that all primary one classes in Dundee have no more than 25 pupils in them.

Figures obtained by Marlyn Glen from Dundee City Council revealed that 4 of this year’s P1 classes in the city had over 25 pupils.

Ms. Glen commented on attempts by the SNP to claim that two of the four classes which had two teachers teaching pupils simultaneously met the criterion of having no more than 25 pupils in the class.

She said,

"When the SNP promised at the last election that all pupils in P1-P3 would be taught by now in classes with no more than 18 pupils, parents rightly believed that this meant that a class of 18 pupils would be taught by just one teacher on his/her own in a single classroom , and not by a group of teachers team-teaching a larger group of children.

"It is disingenuous of the SNP to massage these figures to try to claim that a group of children taught by two teachers is the same as having two separate classes with one teacher each.

"The introduction of their new promise of a maximum of 25 pupils in P1 classes is a frank admission of their comprehensive failure to fulfill their old promise.

" This new promise falls well short of the original 18 class size maximum, and it will do nothing to dispel the scepticism of an electorate weary and wary of SNP broken election promises."

Ms Glen is asking Dundee City Council how the new legislation to cap class sizes to a legal maximum of 25 in primary one classes would have prevented the creation of classes that are currently above 25 in P1 in Dundee if the legislation had been in place today.

She asks if the council would have met the 25 class size limit by either introducing a new composite class, a new P1 class or by refusing a number of placing requests.

Ms. Glen is asking what would happened if the legislation had been in force to pupils who moved during term time into the catchment area of schools where the Primary 1 classes were already at a maximum of 25.

This situation currently exists at 3 Dundee Primary schools.

Ms. Glen has indicated that she will raise such situations with Education Minister Mike Russell.

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