Scottish schools teaching up to four qualifications in same classroom
More than 100 schools in Scotland are running combined classes where at least three different qualifications are being taught by the same teacher at the same time, it has emerged.
Research by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed the extent of multi-level teaching across the country, with some schools even teaching four separate qualifications in one lesson.
Education Secretary John Swinney defended multi-level teaching, saying it is being “delivered effectively” and has been a part of the Scottish education system for many years.
This comes after a range of experts, including unions and senior teachers, said combined classes were “intolerable”, a “disgrace” and “definitely disadvantaged” children.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Scottish Conservatives shows that out of the 238 schools who responded, 112 had combined classes for three levels, with a further 11 squeezing in four levels.
Included in the examples set out were Inverclyde Academy, where one class is being taught four different levels of maths at the same time, and Bridge of Don Academy in Aberdeen, which has 40 combined classes.
Perth High is teaching three levels in combined classes relating to chemistry, physics and biology.
And Ayr Academy is teaching four different levels of English in one – National 3, National 4, National 5 and Higher.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “Across Scotland, thousands of pupils are being thrown together in combined classes, because the school doesn't have the resources to teach qualifications separately.
“It’s unfair on the children who have to compete for the teacher’s attention, and unfair on teachers who have to conduct up to four different lessons all at the same time.
“Experts across the board have told the SNP government about the damage and strain this causes, and our data shows the scale of the issue across every part of the country.”
She added: “We’ve supplied the evidence and the data, and now the Scottish Government needs to act.
“But it seems after 12 years in government, we have SNP ministers more interested in defending their failed record than actually improving the education of our young people.”
When presented with the data at First Ministers Questions, Swinney, who was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“Multi-level teaching has been a feature of the Scottish education system in Scotland for many years.
“Clearly there is an active debate about the issues around subject choices.
“Multi-level teaching is able to be delivered effectively within our schools by teachers who are trained to deliver professionalism of that quality or that standard.”