Stop class mergers in east renfrewshire

We, the undersigned, would like to petition John Wilson, Director of Education, East Renfrewshire Council to stop the class mergers which his authority is currently planning. In the Eastwood Extra, dated April 30th 2009, a spokesman from ERC claims " ...but no parents need to worry as there is no evidence to suggest pupils in larger classes are any less successful". We would like to ask, in light of this statement, why the SNP, the Scottish Labour party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats all have expressed a commitment to smaller class sizes in their manifestos if there is no benefit to children being educated in smaller classes Furthermore, in a letter received from the Schools Directorate of National Government it claims "Smaller class sizes will bring huge benefits to both children and teachers. Teachers will be able to give each child more individual attention, smaller classes will help improve indiscipline in the classroom and help improve children's literacy and numeracy. All this points to the development of a positive learning environment from which children will have the means to acheive their full potential" In addtion to this, Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the EIS, has said: " We hope that the current executive will continue the process of lowering Scottish class sizes, which remain some of the highest in Europe." Why did COSLA make a commitment to reduced class sizes on behalf of all 32 Scottish local authorites, by signing a concordant with national government on 14th November 2007, when there is "no evidence to suggest pupils in larger class sizes are any less successful" According to national government, as a result of the concordant, funding was made available to help local authorities reduce class sizes. What have ERC done with this money Also, according to the letter received from the Schools Direcotrate, "The Scottish Government is currently providing local governement in Scotland with record levels of funding:£22.8 billion for the period 2008/10. It is the responsibility of each local authority to allocate the total financial resources available to it....while fulfilling its statutory obligations and the jointly agreed set of national and local priorities set out in the concordant, including the Scottish Government's key strategic objectives and manifesto commitments, such as reducing class sizes in P1- P3". In the Extra, ERC also claim that no teaching jobs were at risk. Where will these teachers be re-delployed As far as we understand it, all schools in East Renfrewshire are facing re-classification, so what will happen to all of their "excess" teaching staff If they are simply going to employ them somewhere else, then what is the point of this whole exercise If they employ them elsewhere then they are not going to save any money, yet we were told by the Education Department that this exercise was being carried out to create "efficiences" i.e to save money. As far as weâare concerned, this whole thing just doesn't add up. National Government claim they have given them increased funding, council tax has not fallen, we're living in a period of deflation so why do they need to make "efficiencies" and what are they doing to make "efficiencies" elsewhere in the council away from front-line services This is an issue we feel very strongly about! It is patronsing in the extreme to be told that "there is no evidence to suggest pupils in larger classes are any less successful" when, indeed, there is a myriad of evidence to suggest that very thing. Therefore, we call upon Mr John Wilson to call a halt to this current re-classification. His authority has signed up to the concordant which has made a commitment to reducing class sizes. In addition, our children are happy and settled in school, so why should they be moved into larger classes when there appears to be no justification for doing so

Sponsor

Hello. My name is Pauline Park and I am a parent of a P1 child in Carolside Primary. When I discovered that East Renfrewshire Council were planning on merging classes I contaced the Education Department at the council. I was told these mergers were taking place as they were looking for "efficiences" due to reduced funding from national government. I then contacted Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. Her department sent me a letter which highlighted the importance of smaller class sizes and it also claimed that increased funding (£22.8 billion for the period 2008/10) has been given to local government. I then contacted the Eastwood Extra and they ran a story on this. In it, a spokesman for the coucil claimed "but no parents need to worry as there is no evidence to suggest larger classes are any less successful". This is complete nonsense- I have been teaching for 14 years and have seen first hand the benefits to be gained from smaller classes. In addition, there is a myriad of evidence which shows the benefits to be gained from educating children in smaller classes. To me there seems to be no justiifcation for this decsion, particularly in light of the council's claim that " no teaching jobs were at risk". We then have to ask where are the "efficiences" and what is happening to all the probationary teachers currently employed in East Renfrewshire Schools We are all living here for the quality of the schools and the council has signed a concordant which aims to reduce class sizes year-on-year, yet they are making moves to increase class sizes. Then they are attempting to fob us off by telling us that there is no evidence that pupils in smaller classes are any less successful.I have included some weblinks which illustrate the importance of smaller class sizes and also how our children have become political pawns in this disagreement between national and local government. It's hypocritical and wrong and that's why I have created this petition. Thanks so much for signing it, I really appreciate your support. Many thanks Pauline Park paulineapark@yahoo.co.uk

Links

http://www.scottishunionist.com/2009/02/snp-spinning-out-of-control-over-class.html http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/topstories/Inside-schools-Class-sizes-a.4378283.jp http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article3868165.ece http://www.classsizeresearch.org.uk/cs%20psychology.pdf http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/1347372.stm http://uk.truveo.com/Small-class-sizes-lead-to-higher-graduation-rate/id/246632301 http://www.res.org.uk/society/mediabriefings/pdfs/2001/January/whitmore.pdf http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/class-size--does-it-really-matter--education-1573342.html http://www.cosla.gov.uk/attachments/aboutcosla/concordatnov07.pdf http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/05/11/snp-pledge-to-cut-school-class-sizes-in-jeopardy-by-funding-crisis-78057-20413330/ http://netherleeparentcouncil.org/johnwilson.aspx

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