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Biggest Difference?

Sorry I’ve not written anything since my first post. I’ve no excuse really. I will try to do better from now on.

I thought it might be a good idea to start by thinking about what is the most noticeable difference between teaching in England and Scotland. Before making the move, I would have predicted that it would be something to do with Highers and A Levels, or GCSE’s and Standard Grades. I would have been wrong. As a Science teacher the most striking difference when you walk into your classroom is that it looks as if half the kids haven’t turned up!

There is a cap of 20 on class sizes in Science on this side of the border – and in my limited experience it’s often less than this. I initially assumed that this was some sort of new initiative, but during a discussion with my colleagues a few days ago I discovered that this was introduced nearly 30 years ago!


When I taught in England I had classes of up to 31. Even my sixth form classes were often over 20. When a class of 30 twelve year olds where carrying out a practical using bunsen burners I no longer felt like an educator, but a health and safety supervisor – making sure no-one hurt themselves was all I could really think about. What really confused me back then was why the technical subjects had a maximum of 20 students in their classes, but we did not.

And now my wish has come true. Any teachers reading this will appreciate the difference it makes having a few less kids in a class. Three or four absentees can have an enormous effect on your lessons. Well, for me at the minute it’s a bit like there are always ten pupils missing!

One Comment

  • Reply Ewan McIntosh |

    You get away with the delay in blogging with such a cool pic. I find the class size should be a must and am astonished it’s not the case south of the border. Looking forward to hearing more comparisons – it’s really helpful for me when I go there to know what things are like.

So, what do you think ?