Since “embarrassingly” failing to uphold their pledge to minimize class sizes, SNP ministers have been accused of letting teachers and students down.
Opposition figures criticised ministers for struggling, after 13 years in office, to raise teacher numbers and support pupils.
This came as figures were revealed by the Scottish government showing that the overall number of full-time teachers since 2008 had risen to its highest level.
At the same time, since 2012, average class sizes in elementary school have fallen to their lowest, from 23.5 in 2019 to 23.1.
Critics, however, pointed to the longer-term image and the inability of the SNP to fulfill a 2007 manifesto pledge to decrease class sizes from P1-3 to 18.
In Scotland’s schools, the number of full-time teachers is also 1,700 less than when the SNP took office in 2007.
The SNP is now patting itself on the back for slashing teacher numbers by thousands since 2007 and not realizing the crisis it generated until years too late, when our schools had already fallen into international league tables, Jamie Greene, Scottish Conservative education spokesman, said.
Under the leadership of the SNP, Scotland’s schools were understaffed and unprepared for the pandemic.
Not nearly enough teachers still remain to offer the same high level of education that was possible before the SNP came to power.
The broken pledge on class sizes has let students and teachers down.
It is embarrassing that the SNP will join the 2021 elections after failing to fulfill the primary pledge of its 2007 manifesto.
The education spokesperson for Scottish Labour, Iain Gray, said, “Today’s statistics are clear: despite 13 years in power, the SNP has failed to increase teacher numbers and support pupils.”
The SNP is still unable to match the level of teachers supported by the Scottish Labour-led Executive in 2007, despite changes in last year’s figures.
Under the SNP, Scotland’s pupils suffered 13 wasted years. It is time for the SNP to take steps to undo the harm to school education in Scotland that it has done.
The figures indicate that there are 53,400 teachers in primary, secondary and special schools or locally serving in early learning and childcare.
That’s 1,153 more than the average of 52,247 for 2019.
“I welcome this significant increase in the number of teachers, which is the largest annual increase since the relevant statistics began in 2006,” said Education Secretary John Swinney.
The pandemic of Covid 19 has led us to take steps to help pupils keep up with their learning after leaving school, and this year we have spent an additional £ 80 million to employ more than 1,400 additional teachers and 200 support staff – all of whom are now on the job.
A reduction in class sizes is also good news as this is a key factor in our campaign to close the gap between the most and least deprived pupils in terms of achievement.
“As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, our focus will remain unwavering on providing equity and excellence.”