More Edinburgh schools set for classes of 40-plus

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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THREE Capital primaries are set for supersize classes of 40-plus pupils – while a further 21 are faced with teaching groups of over 25 youngsters.

Confirmation that education chiefs were estimating a P1 intake of 46 at Stockbridge Primary sparked anger and worry among parents – and now it is understood another two schools will have to accommodate extra-large classes after the summer holidays.

And a further 21 schools are preparing for team teaching – where two members of staff are used in classes of between 26 and 50 children to provide the legal pupil-teacher ratio.News that pressure on classrooms is spreading amid soaring rolls comes as city bosses battle to contain the impact of higher P1 numbers by investing emergency cash in 12 schools to create extra learning space.

Among the primaries which already use team teaching, and where it is set to continue in 2013-14, are Blackhall, James Gillespie’s, Sciennes, South Morningside and Stockbridge.

Parent leaders praised team teaching as a “really effective and rewarding way for children to learn” but said families were concerned about the impact of rising rolls on the quality of education.

Lindsay Law, parent representative on the council’s education committee, said: “Parents are worried when classes are very large and they are taught in small classrooms.

“Next session’s P1 intakes are putting pressure on school space. The council needs to make sure that intakes do not reduce the quality of education available.”

Ms Law, whose two daughters are taught at Broughton Primary, said cramped and aging school buildings had also sparked worry among parents about “constraints” on teachers’ ability to plan classes in the interests of pupils.

“In Edinburgh, teachers are restricted in terms of the architecture – they’re having to work around constraints,” she said. “We want teachers to be able to take decisions based on what’s best for the children, not because they are constrained by the architecture of schools.”

But education chiefs said steps they had taken to address the problem of rising rolls were making a difference.

Education leader Paul Godzik said: “There will be extra space at 11 separate primary schools when the new school session starts in August. These range from new classrooms to refurbishment of temporary units and reconfiguration of internal space.

“We recognise these are difficult issues, and parents do have legitimate concerns and anxieties – that’s why the Council will ensure it works in partnership with schools, parents and local communities to consider all possible solutions before any decisions are made.”