EDUCATION: Rennie reveals more than 40,000 pupils in super-size classes

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today urged the Scottish Government to cut class sizes after new statistics showed 40,111 primary school pupils being taught in ‘super-size classes’ – an increase of almost 9,000 over the past decade.

New analysis of pupil census data by the Scottish Liberal Democrats shows that 40,111 primary pupils were being taught in classes of 31 or higher in the 2022/23 school year. This compares to 31,175 in 2012.

There were 1,255 primary school classes with 31 or more pupils, compared to 977 in 2012.

Mr Rennie, pictured right,  said:  “The SNP have had 16 years to make a dent in the problems afflicting Scottish education, but instead super-size classes have soared on their watch.  

“Classes of this size make it harder for teachers to teach and pupils to learn. Smaller classes help pupils learn while also increasing the amount of contact time between teachers and those who need extra help.

“Teachers are the backbone of our education system. However, years of nationalist rule have seen them lose teaching and pupil support colleagues and become inundated with paperwork and diktats.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats would use the talents of the many qualified teachers without permanent jobs to cut class sizes and end the casualisation of the workforce. That would be an important step towards restoring the strength and status of teaching in this country.”

The data below comes from the Scottish Government’s Pupil Census data, which is available here.

Classes with 31 or more pupils (2012-2022)      

Year           Pupils in classes with 31 or more             Classes with 31 or more pupils

2012                            31,175                                                                          977

2013                            33,885                                                                          1,062

2014                            37,451                                                                          1,173

2015                            39,471                                                                          1,237

2016                            44,599                                                                          1,396

2017                            45,843                                                                          1,436

2018                            43,193                                                                          1,353

2019                            43,508                                                                          1,361

2020                            36,735                                                                          1,150

2021                            36,018                                                                          1,130

2022                            40,111                                                                          1,255

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