Saturday, November 10, 2007

Class size confusion

Appears to be continuing confusion over the SNP class-size pledge ... to be perfectly blunt, as far as I can make out, there's just NO WAY they are going to deliver what they said on this in their manifesto:

"Smaller class sizes in P1-P3
We will reduce class sizes in Primary 1, 2 and 3 to eighteen pupils or less to give children more time with their teacher at this vital stage of their development."

... that's pretty unequivocal, but it's now being openly contradicted even by their Minister in charge of Education - i.e. see here. Why can't she just be straight and admit that the manifesto-pledge is now a busted-flush?

And I see that a bit of a smokescreen is being thrown up by some, claiming that other Parties had 'similar' pledges - well, to an extent that's true, but to be specific the Labour manifesto pledge was this:

We will agree, early in the new Parliament, a detailed plan to bring class sizes in Scottish schools below the OECD average and keep them there."

OECD average class-size for Primary Schools is 21.5, not 18 ... it's a pretty significant difference.

I do think the Opposition Party Leaders would do better to concentrate some political fire on this issue ... I get the sense that 1,000 Police Officers (whether old, new or re-cycled - never mind that the pledge was 'new resources' for 'new police officers'!) may well be found from somewhere before 2011; but I can't see ANY possibility of class sizes in Primary 1, 2 and 3 being at 18 by 2011.

It was a truly undeliverable promise and needs to be exposed as such.

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