Council backs Greens over class sizes challenge

A Green proposal to legislate over maximum class sizes in primary school has won the backing of City of Edinburgh Council. 
At the Education, Children and Families Committee today (16 June) members backed Green Councillor Alison Johnstone’s motion seeking to clarify current confusion over maximum class sizes in primary one.
 
In common with all councils across Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council had been working to guidelines which say that the maximum class size in primary one is 25 children.  This has been used to decline applications from out of catchment children seeking to get into popular schools.
 
However, over the last three weeks, a number of parents have now appealed against those decisions, drawing attention to the fact that the only size limit set out in legislation is for 30 children.  In a number of appeals recently the City Council has been forced to admit children by forming larger classes than 25.
 
The Greens strongly support smaller class sizes and last week (8 June) Councillor Johnstone, the Greens Education Spokesperson, submitted a motion to the Education Committee, calling for clarification in the law.
 
Councillor Alison Johnstone said:
“Smaller class sizes have the backing of parents, children and teachers.  The current maximum of 25 in Primary One has been the norm for a few years now, and, indeed, current Scottish Government policy is to reduce it still further to 18.
 
“But it now seems that a basic building block of early years schooling is resting on very shaky foundations.  It is vital that the Government seek to give a proper legal basis to smaller class sizes.
 
“So I welcome the City Council’s backing for my proposal, and I look forward to early action on it.”