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Created: 13 December 2016 | Last Updated: 13 December 2016 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

Education Stats Highlight Both Good News and Continuing Challenges

13 December 2016

The EIS has said that new Scottish Government figures released today (Tuesday) contain some good news for Scottish education but also highlight some significant challenges that continue to face schools across Scotland.

Commenting on the School Summary statistics, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The number of teachers employed across Scotland has held steady, and actually shows a small increase overall, indicating the local authorities have adhered to a commitment brokered between the EIS and Scottish government to maintain teacher numbers over the year.

"This is very welcome, and is helping to improve employment prospects for qualified teachers and ensure that young people have consistent levels of provision in schools across Scotland.

"The EIS would certainly expect the Scottish Government to continue its commitment to maintaining teacher numbers, and we hope to hear confirmation soon from the Finance Minister in his forthcoming financial statement.”

He added, "The number of pupils in our schools is also increasing, with average class sizes continuing to edge upwards. While the average increase is very small, this continues the recent trend of class sizes growing year on year.

"Evidence clearly indicates that smaller class sizes are better for pupils, and can have a significant impact on attainment.

"Given the welcome Scottish Government commitment to tackling the attainment gap, the trend of rising class sizes is an issue that must be tackled through greater investment in a greater number of qualified teachers.”

On pre-5 education, Mr Flanagan said, "Of significant concern is the continuing fall in the number of GTCS registered teachers in the nursery sector, and the decline in the number of nursery pupils having ‘access’ to a qualified teacher.

"The figures released today would indicate that, on a typical week, 3 out of every 10 children in our nursery schools and classes had no access to or input from a GTCS registered teacher.

"It is unacceptable that, in this important stage of early education, so many young children are not receiving the input from qualified teachers that is so integral to a high-quality educational experience.”

Also published today was data on CfE achievement levels in schools across Scotland. Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The publication of CfE level data today indicates that pupils in our schools are performing well overall, and that most are at or ahead of the expected level for their stage.

"Progress through the levels is a continuum and it should be noted that there has never been an expectation that all pupils would achieve the levels at the same rate.

"The data also confirms some challenges that we know exist, such as the link between deprivation and poorer attainment and the challenge of maintaining momentum during the transition phase between upper primary level and early secondary level.

"These are issues that teachers are working hard to address, and the continuing investment by the Scottish Government is important in tackling these major societal issues that continue to impact on pupils in our schools.”

The Summary Statistics for School Education and the Achievement for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) levels are available from the Scottish Government website.