FURIOUS parents have slammed the prospect of putting their children in a P1 class of nearly 50 children at a city primary when schools reopen after the summer.
Education chiefs said 46 youngsters were expected to join Stockbridge Primary next term – believed to be one of the largest P1 classes ever formed in Edinburgh and almost twice the legal limit of 25 set by Scottish ministers.
Parents accused education chiefs of exploiting legal “loopholes” and said the development would create “havoc”, with fears there will be constant disruption and a higher risk of infectious diseases spreading among pupils.
Opposition councillors said it was the first time they had heard of such a large class at a city school.
Next session’s intake at the single-stream school will be made possible through team teaching, with the school library set to be disbanded to create “break-out” learning space.
One father, who did not want to be named and whose child is about to join P1 at Stockbridge, said: “There will not be one teacher with one group of children throughout the course of the day. This completely violates the spirit of the law in terms of the 25-child limit.
“The logistics of that will create havoc and lots of difficult situations, both for the teacher and the children. Having 46 children in a class will prevent a successful learning experience. The head is doing her best but the current solutions are inadequate.”
Elaine Villiers, 45, whose daughter will soon enter P1, said: “I’m very nervous. I feel it will be a case of crowd control – the brightest ones will be fine but the children who need a lot of help will just be shunted around.”
As revealed by the News, Stockbridge is one of nine primary schools being considered for emergency investment.
The aim is to create extra space as rolls soar, meaning classes of 40 pupils or more are increasingly likely at schools across the Capital.
Councillor Jason Rust, education spokesman for the city’s Conservative group, said: “I haven’t ever heard of a class as large as 46. The larger the class, the greater the danger that those likely to struggle will be lost in the system.”
Parent leaders said the situation indicated “failure” in the council’s planning process.
Rob Coward, co-chair of Stockbridge parent council, said: “There was every indication that we were going to be faced with that sort of pressure this year – they could have planned a lot better.”
Scottish Government officials said they were in dialogue with councillors about the law on class sizes.
A spokeswoman said: “We understand that Edinburgh council will be issuing a protocol to headteachers in the near future to clarify what is allowed under the regulations.”
City education bosses admitted accommodation pressures at Stockbridge were acute.
Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “We have already had a positive meeting with members of the parent council at the school to discuss the way forward. All options regarding how this accommodation pressure could be resolved will be fully discussed with the school community and the full parent council before arriving at any final proposals.”