Parents want P2 and P3 class sizes limited

Share this article

A PARENT campaign group is calling on the Scottish Government to extend new laws that will cap P1 class sizes at 25 next year, so that it covers P2 and P3 class sizes too.

The Kids Not Suits pressure group says driving down class sizes from 30 to 25 in the first year of primary school is not enough.

It argues that children who started school this year who are in class sizes of 30 will be stuck in large classes through their time at primary school.

The renewed fears over class sizes come after the Evening News revealed that almost 40 per cent of city schools are teaching primary one children in class sizes larger then the recommended 25.

Headteachers have been forced to increase their P1 class sizes this year after the Scottish Government failed to introduce new legislation to give councils powers to cap classes at 25 in time for the new term.

It means that a total of 33 schools out of the city's 87 have P1 classes with more than 25 pupils being taught by just one teacher, compared with just two primary schools last year.

Campaign group members Pete Gregson, whose son is currently in a P1 class of 30 at Roseburn Primary, said: "In March, Cllr MacLaren and the children and families committee voted to increase Edinburgh's P1 limit from 25 to 30.

"This action will be reversed by the new legislation, but it doesn't come into effect until August 2011.

"My son and many others will miss out on the new sizes and will be stuck in a class of 30 right through the early years of his education.

"Kids not Suits wants the government to extend the legislation to P2 and P3 as well."

Last month, Netmums - an parental information website - carried out a survey on class sizes with 200 local parents whose children are in large P1 and P2 classes.

It found that 94 per cent said they wanted a cap of 25 pupils on P1 and P2 classes.

Nicola Lamond, who looks after the Edinburgh Netmums site, said: "The huge majority of parents said they want class sizes to be as small as possible, nut parents also want choice and the two don't really go hand in hand as smaller class sizes also mean a reduction in places if parents want to send their children to out-of-catchment schools."

A council spokesman said: "We are committed lowering class sizes and we welcome the government's plans to bring forward a legal limit for P1.

"We have made significant progress over the last year with more than double the number of P1-P3 pupils being taught in classes of 18 or fewer and over 20% now being taught in classes of 20 or fewer."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Primary class sizes are at a record low, our work with COSLA has shown good progress across the country, and a legal limit for P1 classes is a significant milestone in our push for lower class sizes.