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You're class dunce; Nat rapped over schools pledge.

Byline: Magnus Gardham

THE SNP government sparked fury yesterday when they claimed they had "exceeded" their target to cut class sizes.

Education Secretary Mike Russell made the boast as figures showed 22 per cent of kids in the first three years of primary school were in classes of 18 pupils or fewer.

But that target was only set after the Nats ditched their election vow to ensure ALL kids from P1 to P3 would learn in classes of that size. The Nats moved the goalposts last year, when it became clear the pledge would be broken.

A quarter of councils failed to meet even the lesser target.

Labour education spokesman Des McNulty said: "Russell's credibility on teacher numbers and class sizes is shot to pieces. Council-by-council figures show that even the 'lite' version of the SNP's class size pledge is not being honoured."

The row came as new official statistics added up to a rotten report card for the SNP's schools record.

The number of teachers fell by 796 to 52,188 despite a promise to "maintain" staff levels.

Kids also missed more schooldays following a rise in truancy and other "unauthorised absences". The attendance rate dropped from 93.3 per cent to 93.2 per cent but the exclusions fell 11 per cent to 30,211.

A recent report showed nearly half of under-12s did less than the SNP's promised two hours a week of PE.

Russell said: "Statistics only tell part of the story. While there is still much to do, we are moving in the right direction."

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 2, 2010
Words:264
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