Hugh Henry Class Size Comments “Textbook Hypocrisy”

George Adam MSPComments from Hugh Henry on school class sizes have been branded ‘textbook hypocrisy’ following the commitments he broke while Education Minister in the previous administration.

Statistics published today show that there has been a 97% reduction in the number of P1 pupils being taught in classes of more than 25 since 2006, with just 503 pupils still being taught in classes of over 25. The same statistics also show that the proportion of post-probationer teachers in permanent or temporary employment has risen to 75% in 2012, compared to 66% in 2011.

Labour’s 2003 manifesto promised maximum class sizes of 20 in S1 and S2 for Maths and English. However, in February 2007 Hugh Henry scrapped this promise while Education Minister, watering the policy down to seeking an average class size of 20 instead.

Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam who sits on the Education and Culture Committee said:

“Given their failings on class sizes when they were in office, you would think that Labour would be a bit more circumspect on the issue.

“It is textbook hypocrisy for Labour to try and clamber onto their high-horse over class sizes after having failed utterly to meet their commitments while in office.

“It was Hugh Henry himself that dropped Labour’s commitment to a maximum class size of 20 in S1 & S2 maths and English.

“It seems that a bit of humility over his actions is simply beyond him.

“The fact of the matter is that class sizes of over 25 in P1 are almost a thing of the past and clear progress has been made since the introduction of legislation.

“Despite the challenges facing local authorities, the decline in teacher numbers has been halted and the Scottish Government is working hard alongside local councils to secure further improvements in our schools.”

Further details of Scotland’s annual school statistics for 2012 can be viewed by clicking here.