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School Class Sizes

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 11 July 1990

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide a breakdown by subject of class sizes from years S1 to S6 categorised according to (a) normal classes, for class sizes (i) under 20, (ii) 20 to 24, (iii) 25 to 30 and (iv) over 30 and (b) practical classes, for class sizes (i) under 15, (ii) 16 to 20 and (iii) over 20.

[holding answer 21 May 1990]: The information requested is shown in the form of a percentage distribution of subject groups by average teaching group in roll bands, using provisional figures for September 1989.

Distribution of average teaching group roll
Pupil Roll Band (over and up to)
0–1515–2020–2525–3030 anyTotal number 100 per cent.
Stage 1
Modern Languages3·96·826·353·99·12,252
Classical Subjects3·111·722·153·59·5452
Mathematical Subject4·79·726·551·87·32,299
Business Subjcts25·159·48·94·81·8271
Computing Subjects33·849·34·410·61·91,167
Science Subjects8·889·51·30·40·03,459
Technical Subjects15·481·12·31·00·13,372
Social Subjects4·77·325·954·67·54,615
Religious Education5·413·823·149·97·81,932
Home Economics18·478·91·60·80·23,224
Creative/Aesthetic Subjects14·361·310·611·82·09,599
Other Subjects23·229·118·326·52·92,035
Stage 2
Modern Languages7·38·129·047·68·02,601
Classical Subjects18·914·321·337·67·9455
Mathematical Subject5·59·528·351·25·62,378
Business Subjects28·147·311·311·51·8391
Computing Subjects33·252·74·37·42·51,414
Science Subjects7·491·00·90·60·23,817
Technical Subjects14·384·40·80·30·23,542
Social Subjects5·75·920·959·48·05,292
Religious Education6·612·820·951·48·21,946
Home Economics16·781·21·50·40·23,132
Creative/Aesthetic Subjects14·562·111·110·81·59,721
Other Subjects27·631·711·124·45·22,135
Stage 3
Modern Languages26·529·331·612·50·21,686
Classical subjects85·85·76·31·70·6176
Mathematical subject4·112·360·622·80·22,669
Business subjects40·651·54·92·70·41,652
Computing subjects24·671·43·20·50·31,096
Science subjects34·165·60·30·00·05,035
Technical subjects53·745·00·80·40·02,243
Social subjects17·226·535·220·20·93,050
Religious education11·121·238·528·40·81,889
Home economics61·038·00·50·30·21,169
Creative-aesthetic subjects30·040·619·39·11·06,555
Other subjects26·039·621·112·21·02,786
Stage 4
Modern Languages34·129·226·010·00·71,628

Four key points arise from these figures of interest to those concerned about the issue of class sizes in our schools.

  • (i) in years S1 and S2 over 96 per cent. of teaching groups have no more than 30 pupils (the normal maximum in the teachers' scheme of conditions of service is 33 pupils per class);
  • (ii) in S3 and S4 almost two thirds of teaching groups have 20 pupils or fewer. In languages, mathematics and social subjects around 80 per cent. of teaching groups have 25 pupils or fewer (the S3-S6 maxima are 30 pupils per class);
  • (iii) in S5 almost 80 per cent. of teaching groups have up to 20 pupils and over 80 per cent. in many subjects have up to 15 pupils;
  • (iv) in S6 84 per cent. of teaching groups have up to 15 pupils.
  • Pupil Roll Band (over and up to)





    30 any

    Total number 10 per cent.

    Classical subjects84·08·55·22·40·0212
    Mathematical subject4·113·264·517·90·22,894
    Business subjects44·246·85·73·00·31,757
    Computing subjects29·367·71·90·80·2883
    Science subjects35·963·50·50·10·05,108
    Technical subjects60·339·20·50·00·02,161
    Social subjects20·026·635·517·01·03,203
    Religious education10·021·241·826·20·91,758
    Home economics63·634·01·30·60·41,386
    Creative-aesthetic subjects31·737·122·28·01·06,578
    Other subjects25·637·625·410·50·92,907
    Stage 5
    Modern Languages82·211·05·01·20·51,142
    Classical subjects97·81·10·60·60·0179
    Mathematical subject26·530·830·511·40·82,118
    Business subjects66·323·47·42·50·42,470
    Computing subjects66·226·85·70·80·6848
    Science subjects60·238·21·50·10·03,441
    Technical subjects89·010·20·80·00·01,310
    Social subjects56·425·013·44·30·82,296
    Religious education28·120·535·712·92·8677
    Home economics83·415·30·90·20·11,372
    Creative-aesthetic subjects56·922·911·86·61·74,363
    Other subjects36·631·718·110·43·11,893
    Stage 6
    Modern Languages98·10·80·80·30·0371
    Classical Subjects100·00·00·00·00·073
    Mathematical Subject88·56·24·10·90·3581
    Business Subjects84·39·65·40·80·0261
    Computing Subjects83·916·10·00·00·062
    Science Subjects96·33·60·10·00·0807
    Technical Subjects98·21·80·00·00·055
    Social Subjects92·74·51·81·00·0494
    Religious Education29·819·630·419·01·2168
    Home Economics78·920·01·10·00·095
    Creative/Aesthetic Subjects84·26·64·92·32·1576
    Other Subjects45·621·324·36·02·7333

    Information on which classes are practical is not collected centrally.