Pupil-teacher ratio increases across Lothians

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CONCERNS have been raised about the standard of education in the Lothians after it emerged the pupil-teacher ratio has increased in schools across Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian.

Over the last four years the pupil-teacher ratio in local authority schools across the country has gradually increased, reaching 13.4 this year. The rise was partly attributed to the rise in the proportion of pupils in the primary sector, which has larger pupil-teacher ratios.

Edinburgh’s figure is up from 13.8 in 2005 to 14.2 in 2012, while East Lothian reported one of the biggest rises across Scotland, going from 13.9 to 14.8 over the same period.

Midlothian’s pupil-teacher ratio jumped from 13.8 to 14.6 during the last seven years. The only local authority in the Lothians to report a decrease was West Lothian, which dropped from 14.6 in 2005 to 13.8 in 2012.

The city’s Conservative education spokesman, councillor Jason Rust, said: “When statistics like these are released we see how far removed the Scottish Government’s pledges on education are from the reality of our Edinburgh classrooms.

“The pupil-teacher ratio is worse now than when the SNP came to power in 2007 and we need more action, less words.”

The figures also showed that the percentage of primary one to primary three pupils in classes of 18 or less in Edinburgh increased from 7.1 to 15.3 between 2006 and 2012, while West Lothian’s figure rose from 9.2 to 24.4 per cent during the same period.

A city council spokeswoman said they were working to keep class sizes small.

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said the council was managing rising pupil rolls.