Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Education Committee and a history lesson

Education Committee earlier today - pretty light agenda overall ... with most discussion centred around Item 7 on the class-size issue.

If you're interested in these things, the report is well worth a read - it really is an exemplar of how to take 14-pages to say one thing ... 'this national policy is a dogs breakfast, but we'll try and deliver it locally anyhow' :-(

Very few people are arguing - categorically - that reducing class-sizes in P1/2/3 to 18-pupils or less is a bad thing, but as I've pointed out very recently (here and here) there is no legislation to back up this national 'promise' and precious little money being provided to Local Authorities to deliver on it.

Every serious educationalist I've spoken to knows its not going to be delivered, and most are very worried about the problems that will ensue in any 'implementation without legislation and proper resourcing' ... which is just what the report mentioned above outlines.

But, never fear, all is well - because during the Committee discussion our esteemed Vice-Convenor of Education said there had:

"never been a promise of immediate delivery on this commitment - only to phase it in over time"

... stunning - truly stunning - he needs to read the top of page 52 here, which unequivocally states "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."

Talk about re-writing history ...


Anonymous said...

Excuse me, my class size must have been too large but no where in your quote from the vice-convenor do I see anything at odds with the quote you give from what I presume is the SNP manifesto
"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." - where's the immediate commitment - any politician who plans on fundamentally reforming the education system (which needs it) knows that it cannot be done overnight, educational stability requires that changes do not interupt the 12month cycles of children's education and that training teachers is not a one day activity but takes time and investment, something that the Scottish Government is currently providing.

I hear Labour South Lanarkshire council has just made excellent progress to reducing class sizes - 11 schools with P1-3 under 18 from the new school year - perhaps Labour in Edinburgh should check out how they've achieved this and bring something positive to the council chamber rather than sour grapes.

I'm surprised Labour don't want to claim this success considering it's exactly what teachers and parents - though apparently not capital Labour politicians want.

Andrew said...


Thanks for your comment.

I'm sorry ... but a manifesto, by its nature, should be delivered within the lifetime of the legislature that any Party is standing for. Otherwise, what's the point of promising anything if it can then be kicked into the long-grass.

I'm not claiming that NO other Party has broken a manifesto commitment - but the SNP at Holyrood are setting new standards ... unless, of course, something quite dramatic happens in the next 35-months and I'm proven wrong?

There was a promise to deliver P1/2/3 classes of 18 pupils or less by May 2011; that's not funded and is not going to be met.

Making progress is fine - well done South Lanarkshire - but making progress is NOT what was promised to the electorate.

You know it, I know it, and I suspect the electorate will know it come May 2011 ...