Sunday, December 20, 2009

No educational benefit at all

Been reflecting a bit on the events at the end of last week ... much was made by the SNP/Lib-Dem local Administration of the number of 'empty desks' in Edinburgh's schools: the so-called under-occupancy when compared to notional capacity.

Well, here are a few facts that make a complete mockery of what's just happened:
  • class sizes in Edinburgh are higher than the national average and currently the second highest in Scotland
  • the average class size in Edinburgh is currently just under 25, with the national average being 23 --- this makes the capital second highest in Scotland next to Glasgow
  • after last weeks events, Edinburgh will surely soon have the largest class sizes in Scotland?
  • the Council are thus badly failing to meet the national targets of reducing class sizes in P1-P3, and actually now have fewer pupils in classes of 18 or less than last year
  • only 6.5 per cent of P1-3 pupils are currently in classes of 18 or less, which has decreased from 8.6 per cent last year
  • that's a long, long way from 100%, and not even anywhere near the downgraded target of 20% that was being touted a few weeks ago
  • the pupil teacher ratio has also risen in the past year, while the number of teachers employed in Edinburgh schools has fallen
  • the number of teachers has dropped from 3,475 to 3,361
  • that ratio can surely only get worse with the closure of four primary schools now on the horizon?

Yet more proof, if ever it were needed, that this whole fiasco had nothing whatsoever to do with educational benefit and everything to do with simply trying to save some money.



Anonymous said...

Saving money isn't shameful if it helps the greater good. The greater good being education.

Many families (including mine) will be looking to save money this Christmas. Sure, their kids may think it's shameful but if it keeps the family out of debt and keeps food on the table then it makes sense.

Closing schools can't be fun but surely, when parents a choosing other schools year after year, it isn't sustainable to keep half empty schools open?

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment.

I actually agree that 'saving money isn't shameful' but that's wasn't the point of my angst ... my point was that shutting these schools was undertaken for dubious reasons all-round!

Figures from the General Register Office of Scotland (GROS) indicate that Edinburgh's school-aged population will rise by some 20% by 2020 (not that far away now!) and this, along with a better Council campaign promoting local schools, could mean that no school would face the 'half-empty' accusation.

What happened last Thursday was incredibly short-sighted ... and that WAS shameful.

Thanks again for checking the blog.