Voice Official Response 1030: Scottish Government's Class Sizes Policy

Voice Official Response to Scottish Parliamentary Committee consultation

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.

Maureen Laing
Senior Professional Officer for Scotland

Voice the union for education professionals
1-3 St Colme Street,


Scottish Parliament Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee


Senior Professional Officer (Scotland) Maureen Laing
Email: scotland@voicetheunion.org.uk

Tel: 0131 220 8241