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More than 120 schools in Scotland over capacity following years of SNP broken promises

Dozens of schools in Scotland are over capacity following years of SNP broken promises about class sizes and cuts to council funding.

Latest figures have revealed that 81 primary schools had a pupil roll greater than capacity as of September 2020, along with 47 secondaries.

Another 305 schools were at 90-to-100 per cent.

In Edinburgh, 30 per cent of secondaries were over capacity, and the same was true of a quarter of secondary schools in Glasgow.

At the primary level, 18 schools in North Lanarkshire (15 per cent) fell into the category, along with 14 in South Lanarkshire (11 per cent).

Across Scotland, 13 per cent of secondaries were over capacity and 4 per cent of primaries. In 2007, the SNP came to power with a headline promise to cut primary class sizes.

Since 2013/14, local government’s revenue funding has reduced by 2.4 per cent in real terms under the SNP, in contrast to a 3.1 per cent increase in Scottish Government revenue funding over the same period.

After the draft budget for 2022-23 was presented in December, umbrella body Cosla said there is a further cut of £100million in revenue funding and ‘flat cash’ capital funding.

The organisation has described it as a “bad deal for communities”, warning that serious financial challenges in key service areas lie ahead.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:

“The SNP says that education is the top priority for the government, but the reality is different as the SNP has been distracted by its obsession with the constitution.

“There have been broken promises about class sizes, the attainment gap has not been closed, we have fallen down the international rankings, and councils have faced steep funding cuts – while the money available to the government has actually increased.

“The SNP may have announced some funding for schools in the recent past, but this has been ring fenced, meaning that it has to be spent on the SNP’s vanity projects and headteachers and local authorities do not have the freedom to spend the money where it is needed the most.

“The responsibility for local spending cuts lies squarely with the SNP government in Edinburgh, and there are further cuts down the line this year.

“These figures show that hundreds of schools are close to capacity, with more than 100 over capacity.

“As children prepare to return to school, this year must see a renewed focus on education from the government, with much-needed investment for councils.”


Source: Tables 6.1 and 6.2

School capacity is a measure of how many pupils can be taught in a school rather than a measure of the size of a school building. It is based on the number and size of teaching spaces available but exact calculation methods differ between local authorities.

Council funding source: Cosla - Further information here.


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