Now Jamie, if two Higher mathematics pupils are in a class with ten National 5 mathematics pupils, is the SNP to blame for something?

Once more Reporting Scotland reveals a love for the partisan views of trades unionists nakedly pursuing the interests of their members. It’s a sharp and comedic contrast with the BBC’s past disdain for mine and railway worker unions in the 70s and 80s. Unable to land punches directly on the popular and competent Scottish Government, BBC Scotland tend habitually to pounce on any supposed failures in those services – health, police, education – which they are responsible for. Mud sticks they hope secretly.

Today, we return to the supposed teacher shortages and undue pressures in the secondary school classrooms. The report has three major flaws.

First, there is something missing, unsaid, and repeatedly so. The public have a right to know, so I’ve inserted it in bold, in the transcript below:

Pupils are being short changed when they are taught together for different qualifications, in the same subject according to a teacher’s union. The SSTA wants to curb the practice of so-called “multi course teaching” in the same subject in the senior years of secondary school. It can mean students doing National 4s and 5s in the same subject are being taught alongside others doing their Highers in the same subject. The Scottish government recently announced a review which will look into this. Multi-course teaching in the same subject is becoming increasingly widespread, according to the union.

So, for example a trained teacher of Mathematics may have pupils working at different levels in Mathematics in their class of 10 or so pupils. They are trained to teach mixed ability classes. It is normal to do so. I was a primary teacher and had to teach several discrete subjects. Already, by age 11/12 there was at least a 7 year-gap in the abilities of some of the pupils in my class of 30. I was trained.

Second, the research is useless as it is based on a tiny self-selecting sample. There were 23 317 secondary teachers in Scotland in 2018, up 167 from 2017.

1 200 out of 23 317 is 5.14%. A sample of 5.14% based only on those who chose to respond is so unreliable that the pupils in a first-year mathematics classes would know it was.

BBC Scotland wrote:

‘The SSTA surveyed its members on the issue – more than 1,200 responded.’ Wow!

Third, as always BBC Scotland failed to contextualise these already fatuous claims with this:

SHOCK: Scotland has 35% more teachers per capita than Tory England and 46% more than Labour Wales!