School class sizes on increase in P1-3

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Media captionEducation Secretary Mike Russell said there was "much to be pleased about"

The average class size for Scottish pupils in primary years one to three has increased to more than 23.

The proportion of pupils being taught in classes of fewer than 18 has fallen to 13%.

The average class size in early-years primary is now 23.2, compared with 22.7 in 2012.

The Scottish government said the overall pupil-teacher ratio remained at 13.5, in line with an agreement between the government and councils.

The number of teachers in Scotland has fallen from 51,253 to 51,078.

Other points highlighted in the school statistics summary included:

  • The proportion of pupils in schools classed as being in good or satisfactory condition has increased from 61% in 2007 to 84% in April 2013.
  • Post-probationary teachers in employment rose year-on-year from 75% to 79%.
  • Since 2006-7, exclusions have dropped by 51% and attendance levels are now at 93.6%.

Education Secretary Michael Russell commented: "There is much to be pleased about in today's school statistics, not least the fact that the number of exclusions have reduced to the lowest level on record and attendance rates are higher than ever.

"With 84% of pupils now in buildings that are in good or satisfactory condition, compared to 61% in 2007, our pledge to move 46,000 pupils into top quality accommodation will continue to bear fruit in the years to come, building on the huge progress we have made so far."

'Dramatic effect'

Mr Russell added: "Our legislation to put in place a maximum class size of 25 for P1s in August 2011 has also had a dramatic effect.

"In 2006, there were almost 17,000 P1 pupils in classes of more than 25. Now that figure is less than 600."

Scottish Labour's Kezia Dugdale claimed the figures were "embarrassing" for the government.

She said: "Despite the abject failure to meet his own targets and with fewer teachers in our classrooms, Mike Russell proclaims this as a success. It can only be so in the parallel universe of the SNP.

"It isn't good enough for Mike Russell to simply ignore his own targets and declare success when he is so abjectly failing against his own measurements.

"Parents, teachers and our children deserve better than this."

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur said the government had failed to meet its manifesto pledges on teacher numbers and class sizes.

He commented: "The numbers the SNP promised us would go up are going down, and the numbers they said would go down are going up. On class sizes, teachers and pupil teacher ratios, these figures are a list of SNP broken promises to children in Scotland.

"Six years ago the SNP pledged to reduce class sizes for P1-3. Now, a child leaving primary school in the summer will have been in a smaller class than those starting school today."

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