SNP Primary School Class Size in Dundee - Limited Ambitions & Difficulties Ahead

Item two on the agenda of the Education Committee on Monday, is a report from the Director of Education, setting out the Council's response to a Scottish Government's Consultation on draft regulations to reduce the class size maximum of all P1 classes to 25.

Despite their electoral promise in May 2007 to reduce primary school class sizes in years one to three (P1-3) to 18, the SNP government in Holyrood is proposing to only legislate for a class size reduction to 25 in P1. They have however asked in their consultation whether the same limit should apply to P2 and P3 classes.

In Jim Collins's report to the Education Committee, (para 5.2.1) he suggests that, '... in practice, and in the current financial climate, such an extension is likely to cause considerable financial difficulty. and .... (para 5.3.1) 'the Council urges caution, and continuing dialogue with local authorities around the financial implications.'

I think parents in Dundee will be disappointed that this appears to be limit of the ambitions for our city wide primary schools by the SNP administration of the City Council. I wonder whether Councillor Liz Fordyce (SNP), Convenor of the Education Committee, has merely been caught napping approving this report for the Agenda of the Education Committee? I hope she will be coming forward with her own amendment on Monday evening which will give fuller effect to her party's commitment to class size reductions to 18.

In addition, parents with pre-school aged children will want more answers from the Convener about how their children might be excluded from their local primary school if the proposed legal limits on class sizes were introduced.
For example, Barnhill Primary School is almost bursting at the seams. In Broughty Ferry, on the basis of figures recently supplied to me by the Education Department, the August 2010 school roll for Primary One intakes to Eastern, Forthill, Barnhill and Craigiebarns Primary are all currently full with waiting lists. Will some parents with rising fives in the catchment areas of Barnhill Primary School have to seek places outwith these other three schools if class size legal limits are reduced?