Lib Dems reveal over 100,000 primary school pupils in composite classes

Friday August 14th 2015

Scottish Liberal Democrats have raised concerns that local authorities are resorting to the use of composite classes to address the SNP’s lack of support for primary schools.

Figures obtained by the party through parliamentary questions revealed that, in 2014, over 100,000 P1-P7 pupils across Scotland were in classes which mix pupils of different stages and age groups.

Whilst team teaching is often used in rural schools due to smaller local cohorts of pupils, the figures highlight its use in densely populated urban areas.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“Composite classes and team teaching will always have a place in Scotland’s schools. In my constituency, Orkney, composite classrooms often help ensure the viability of rural schools which have smaller cohorts of pupils in the area.

“It is a teaching approach which can have benefits for pupils, but it is not an approach which should be taken out of necessity.

“These figures will raise questions over whether composite classrooms are being used to manage a shortage of capacity and staff.

“With over 100,000 primary school pupils in composite classes across Scotland, parents will want assurances that local authorities are not being forced to take such steps.

“Successive SNP Education Ministers have failed to deliver their 2007 promise to cut class sizes.

“Our figures showing that even in densely populated urban areas such as Glasgow, where 1498 Primary 2 pupils are in composite classes, warrant explanation by the SNP Government.”

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