Official Response 1030
Scottish Government’s Class Sizes Policy
Requested by: Scottish Parliament Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee
23 February 2010
This response is made on behalf of, and in consultation with, the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) of Voice – the union for educational professionals.
SEC determines union policy with regard to pay, conditions, and all other educational matters in Scotland.
Would encourage Scottish Government to work towards target of P1-P3 classes having 18 or fewer in current Parliamentary session/20% of pupils:
Small classes ie of 18 particularly in early stages are of great benefit:
- easing transition from Pre school to P1 where there is a high ration of adults in pre school settings
- giving every child an opportunity to achieve optimum in teaching and learning environment – ensures CfE capacities and principles
- allows class teacher to support individual pupils/identify and cater for learning styles
- offers learning and teaching climate to increase opportunities for independent learning and so produce effective contributors.
Voice would like to see something we have been advocating for many years established as a principle, namely having a year-on-year reduction as cohorts progress through school. In this way upper primary and statutory school age secondary pupils would benefit also.
Definitely free school meals for children in deprived areas – surely this would be a start to implement a healthier Scottish nation and avoid high obesity levels in children as young as 5. (Recent research)
While councils may be quite imaginative in adopting a variety of initiatives and approaches to meet class size targets this is usually at the expense of other classes which are not targeted.
A long-term strategy is required by government to avoid the knock-on effects of implementing the small classes in P1-P3. Undoubtedly more buildings and employment of teachers and support staff will be required in order to deliver this policy.
Senior Professional Officer for Scotland
Voice the union for education professionals
1-3 St Colme Street,
Senior Professional Officer (Scotland) Maureen Laing
Tel: 0131 220 8241