Laurie Bidwell

Labour spokesperson on Education in Dundee

 

Increasing Class sizes in Dundee

10 December 2015

I know parents and carers in Dundee will be concerned by the news that class sizes in Dundee are continuing to increase and the number of teachers we employ has declined significantly.

They know that the quality of the education their children receive depends on the quality and number of teachers in local schools.

The SNP's record of running Education in Dundee is one cut after another in the number of teachers in our schools.

In the census in September 2010 there were 1511 teachers in post and in September 2015 this was down to 1409.

This loss of over 100 posts represents two or more teachers in every primary and secondary school in the city. We can't go on like this cutting the schools' budget year after year and not expect that this will undermine the attainment and achievement of our children.

Strangely when the City Council was provided with the opportunity to bid for extra millions of pounds to help close the attainment gap in our city, they have apparently declined the opportunity to employ more teachers to reduce class sizes, especially in the early years.

For the second year running, the Education Convener, Councillor Stewart Hunter is presiding over the worst record in Scotland for the proportion of pupils who are taught in class sizes of 18 or fewer in P1-3 classes in our Primary Schools.

The plain fact is that the cash the city has received from Scottish Government have been reduced year after year and the Council Tax has been frozen.

While George Osborne and the UK Government has imposed significant cuts in the value of their annual block grant to the Scottish Government, the SNP government in Holyrood must also accept responsibility for imposing cuts in our schools by avoiding using the powers they possessed to increase the rate of income tax by up to 5% and failing to bring in a new system of local government funding to replace the Council Tax.