Number of teachers required to fulfil commitment to reduce class contact time: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Any assessment carried out of the number of teachers that will be needed in order for the Scottish Government to fulfil its commitment to reduce class contact time and any information setting out how the government plans to meet this commitment and how much it expects it to cost.

This freedom of information release highlights an email exchange in January. It said back then “a crude estimate by LA” of the number of teachers that would be needed to bring about the promised reduction in class contact time was being carried out. I would like to receive that estimate by local authority – as well as any other assessments that have been carried out.


I can confirm that the Scottish Government holds information falling within the scope of your request. However, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption under Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy applies. This is because we are still in the process of working with local authorities and other key partners to identify and consider options for implementing the policy on reduction of class contact time effectively, and to better understand the number of additional teachers required. The information held that is within the scope of your request is directly related to this process of policyformulation and development.

The exemption at Section 29(1)(a) – formulation or development of government policy is subject to the public interest test. We have considered carefully whether the public interest lies in maintaining the exemption or releasing the information. We have given weight to the general public interest in transparency, and the potential for release of the information to give an insight into the policy formulation and development process. However, we have also given weight to the fact that, as we are in the early stages of the policy process, and a range of options and approaches is still under consideration with key partners, release of the exempt information could have a negative impact on our ability to undertake high quality policy formulation, and result in inaccurate or incomplete information being placed in the public domain. On balance, we consider that the public interest test falls in favour of maintaining the exemptions.

With regards to costings, the commitment to reduce class contact time was made alongside the complementary commitment to fund 3,500 additional teachers over and above the 1,400 additional teachers recruited during the pandemic (giving an overall total of 4,900 additional teachers). We estimate that the additional teachers delivered by the commitment to increase teacher numbers will be sufficient to reduce maximum class contact time - therefore there is no projected additional cost of this policy change.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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