Large primary school classes are the root cause of inequalities in Fife, a Labor MSP said.

Alex Rowley said an Freedom of Information request showed the number of primary classes with over 25 and 30 students per class was shockingly high in Fife.

Figures from the Fife Council show that local schools have 412 primary classes with more than 25 pupils per class and 136 primary classes with more than 30 children in the current school year.

The politician from Fife has now presented a motion in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the increase in class size, which he says is one of the main drivers of educational inequality, and insisting that a reduction in class size would contribute to the resumption of education.

He said: “There is a wealth of research showing that reducing class sizes can have positive impacts on the education of our children, especially the most disadvantaged students, as well as on increasing overall outcomes. students.

“Many independent private schools operate with teacher-to-student ratios between 1:05 and 1:12, but we have so many children in public schools with classes over 30. This leads to inequalities in education. .

“Every child deserves to have access to the best possible education, which is why we need to control class sizes. ”

In the motion tabled in parliament, Mr Rowley also quoted EIS teachers’ union general secretary Larry Flanagan, who commented on the government’s education revival strategy and said: fails to promote a single big initiative such as a reduction in class sizes, which would catalyze a program of resumption of education and bring immediate benefits to Scottish children and young people.

“Smaller classes, even on a limited basis, like P2 and P3 or S1 and S2, would mean more teacher time per student and help targeted interventions where the pandemic has disproportionately impacted children’s lives. .

“As a country, we need to be bolder in our ambitions for our young people. ”

Mr Rowley added: “I encourage parents to comment on class sizes. It is not fair that the ability of parents to pay for education gives some children a better chance at success.

“We need more teachers, more teaching assistants and smaller classes if we are to achieve equality for all in education.

“Considering what the students went through, we need to be more ambitious in resuming education.”

Across Scotland, the average class size for primary school students in 2020 was 23.1, up from 23.5 in 2019. This is the smallest average class size since 2012.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: ‘The average primary class size last year was the lowest since 2012. The number of teachers is at its highest since 1980.

“Since the pandemic we have provided £ 240million for additional staff to help resume education. Local authorities may be able to use the funding we have provided for additional staff to reduce class sizes to meet local requirements.

“We are committed to reducing the contact time of teachers in class by an hour and a half per week in order to reduce their workload and free them up to prepare for lessons and improve their skills. We will work with our SNCT partners to achieve this.

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