SNP need to use extra school funding to reduce class sizes in the Borders

The SNP should be using an extra £2bn in funding to reduce class sizes in the Scottish Borders, local MP John Lamont has said.

The Prime Minister has announced that schools in England are set to receive an extra £14 billion to deliver on a pledge to ensure every secondary and primary school receive the same minimum funding per pupil.

The money will be phased in over the next three years and will mean the Scottish Government receives £1.9bn as a result of Barnett consequentials.

While it is up to the Scottish Government to spend this money as they see fit, local MP John Lamont has said it should be used to meet the SNP’s pledge to reduce class sizes.

Official figures show that the percentage of P1-P3 pupils in class sizes of less than 18 has fallen from 30% in 2010 when the SNP came to power to 12.5% in 2018.

John Lamont MP said: “This extra funding is excellent news for pupils south of the Border, but the SNP need to make sure that pupils in Scotland don’t miss out.

“With nearly £2 billion coming their way, a good start would be to reduce class sizes in the Scottish Borders. There is strong evidence that primary school pupils in particular benefit from smaller class sizes yet only one in eight pupils in the Borders are in classes of less than 18.

“Much more needs to be done to support teachers and this money must be used wisely by the Scottish Government.”

Scottish Borders Council leader Cllr Shona Haslam added: “We are investing heavily in the school estate in the Borders to make sure that pupils are learning in modern schools fit for the 21st Century.

“In terms of our capital budget, we are driving forward with investment in new High Schools for Hawick, Galashiels, Selkirk and Peebles and our new Digital Learning programme is being delivered for all pupils.

“However the Scottish Government is asking us to do more with fewer and fewer resources and this has clearly had an impact on class sizes in the Borders.

“I hope this money is handed down to where it belongs - with Councils who are doing their best to improve learning and to close the attainment gap.”