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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Teachers reject strike action
School class - generic
The EIS wants a maximum of 20 pupils
Scottish teachers have voted against taking industrial action over class sizes.

The vote took place at the annual Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) conference in Perth.

Scotland's biggest teaching union wants all class sizes cut to just 20.

Delegates were asked to decide whether to take industrial action or pursue a more moderate campaign to reduce class numbers.

But the position was defeated in favour of a motion pledging to conduct a continuing campaign urging the Scottish Executive to limit class sizes.

The current maximum number of pupils in Scotland is 33 - a level set in the 1970s.

The Scottish Executive has promised smaller maths and English classes in S1 and S2, with no more than 20 pupils.

There has been a lot of sound and fury, a lot of publicity and a lot of campaigning, and we still have the same class sizes that we had 30 years ago
Ronnie Alexander
West Dunbartonshire Local Association

But the EIS wants all classes to be cut to that size.

Delegates from the West Dunbartonshire Local Association put forward a motion calling for industrial action to achieve that goal.

Association secretary Ronnie Alexander said: "We achieved maximum class sizes in Scotland in 1974 after a campaign of industrial action.

"Since then there has been a lot of sound and fury, a lot of publicity and a lot of campaigning, and we still have the same class sizes that we had 30 years ago."

Moderate motion

"That would then become a problem for management in the school," said Mr Alexander.

"Having taken part in that campaign in 1973/74, very quickly the management decided that the way to do this and avoid being left with large numbers if children was simply to fall in with the institute's class maximum."

However, delegates chose to back a more moderate course of action.

It called for the EIS to launch a campaign to push the case for smaller class sizes at all stages of school.

A union spokesman said negotiations with the executive would continue to press for a scaling back of class sizes.




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