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EDITIONS
Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Teachers back special schools
Delegates at an EIS conference
Delegates debated a range of issues
Government policies aimed at social inclusion are leading to more disruption in the classroom, members of Scotland's largest teaching union have claimed.

The annual EIS conference in Dundee has called for the introduction of more resources and specially trained teachers to ensure that every pupil's needs are met.

Delegates were told on Saturday that indiscipline had been a problem in schools for too long.

Classroom
Teachers called for smaller class sizes
It was argued that social inclusion should not be an excuse for abandoning pupils without sufficient or appropriate support.

Teachers said that the closure of special schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties was causing problems in the classroom.

They argued that social inclusion policies were being rushed through to meet a political agenda.

They also claimed that the Scottish Executive was more interested in meeting targets than reducing indiscipline.

Teachers want to see special schools kept open in order to deal with those children whose behavioural needs cannot be dealt with in mainstream education.

'Fragmented system'

The conference also heard criticism of moves by some schools to drop Standard Grade courses and replace them with new National Qualifications exams.

St Ninian's High School in East Renfrewshire has decided to abandon the courses from August and others are expected to follow suit.

EIS delegates said the changes were being introduced without any serious discussion and are creating a chaotic and fragmented system.

The conference was also told that while Standard Grades may not be perfect, they should not be replaced by exams designed for older pupils.

Changed expectations

Delegates also discussed a call to see all school class sizes cut to 20 or less.

Teachers said reducing classes would improve the quality of education for pupils and help resolve current difficulties with the McCrone pay deal.

Class sizes in Scotland are currently set at a maximum of 33, but teachers say that since that limit was imposed almost 30 years ago the expectations of the education system have changed dramatically.

See also:

07 Jun 02 | Scotland
27 Jul 01 | Scotland
08 Jun 01 | Scotland
04 Jun 01 | Scotland
15 Aug 00 | Scotland
21 Nov 98 | UK Education
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