Parents Survey Shows Concern Over Increasing Class Sizes

The parents of Nethermill Primary School at Parkgate near Dumfries and parents from many other small rural schools throughout the region are taking part in a joint Parent Councils zoom meeting this week (Wednesday 12th) to put the results of their parent survey to representatives from Dumfries and Galloway Council and  Education Department.

Parents from 21 schools took part in an online survey organised by their Parent Councils.

With 98% of parents who responded believing that one teacher having responsibility for the education of up to 25 pupils across P1-7 would have a negative impact on their child’s development and education and 81% considering leaving the school if this happened.

A Spokesperson for the group of parents said “A survey was also sent out to staff to respond to anonymously, with more than 90% agreeing that this would be detrimental to pupil’s education and development and that they would consider leaving their post if this happened in their school.

For the past three years now the small schools have been campaigning for Dumfries and Galloway Council to reverse its decision to raise the nationally agreed threshold for a one teacher school from 19 to 25.  Throughout Scotland this threshold ranges from as low as  15-19 but as part of cost-cutting budgets D+G Council has raised this to 25 (the legal limit for a composite class set by the Scottish Government).

This means that many of the small rural schools with a 2 teacher base are constantly under threat of being made 1 teacher schools where one teacher will have sole responsibility for a multi-composite class of 25 children ranging in age from 4 years to 12 years being taught across stages, levels and needs.  Parents believe this is unfair and detrimental for pupils and staff in our smaller schools.

A projected roll of 26 this year means that Nethermill will retain two teachers but this is very precarious so the parents are supporting the Parent Council and other schools to highlight the issue again.

As the guidance is in place to set a limit on the size of a composite class (usually within a larger school), Nethermill Parent Council are in the process of gathering evidence to approach the Scottish Government asking them to be more specific in their guidance with particular reference to small rural whole schools so that our small schools are not disadvantaged or having to face this problem year on year.”

Schools that have taken part in the survey:



However, there are a number of schools across every area of D and G who are also at risk that haven’t taken part in the survey but are part of our campaign.



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