1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Class sizes and possible ways around..

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by bikerbuoy, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. bikerbuoy

    bikerbuoy New commenter

    Firstly, apologies if this has been done to death but a quick search did not reveal any clear answers. So, I currently teach a number of Year 7 & 8 classes of 28-30 and GCSE groups of upto 27.

    These groups are all legacy groups created before I joined the school.

    I raised my concerns with the SLT and the following have been suggested. I would love to hear from anyone who has similar issues, has tried any of these ideas or has better ideas.

    Thank-you for looking.

    1 - Paired work where only one in the pair is designated tool user.
    2 - Appointed peer H&S monitors who rotate and are responsible for peer marking and reviewing H&S on a rotation to reduce numbers working with tools.
    3 - Split workshop where half the class are on tools while the other half are on theory (rotating by or in lesson)
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    are these class sizes against the law?
  3. bikerbuoy

    bikerbuoy New commenter

    I'm not sure there is a law only BS 4163. They are certainly above the recommended sizes.
  4. cosybear

    cosybear New commenter

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
    JohnJCazorla and Stiltskin like this.
  5. bikerbuoy

    bikerbuoy New commenter

    @cosybear would you believe that the suggestions above came following my referral to your linked-to piece!
  6. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I'd argue for them providing you an appropriate technician to support the practical activities. I don't think a split workshop will work, if you're with the practical class those on theory are effectively unsupervised.
  7. bikerbuoy

    bikerbuoy New commenter

    Come on folks, almost 90 views but only 3 people with thoughts on my dilemma? Tell me what you think.... is it happening in your school too?
  8. TheOtherHalf1

    TheOtherHalf1 New commenter

    You've read the literature provided by @cosybear so should know that you are responsible for all those in our care for a particular lesson. Splitting them without adequate supervision, not just a "babysitter", may be a very short-term solution, but those pupils are entitled to have a teacher to support them through the theory work.

    Always asks yourself, if you would be happy for your child to be minded rather than taught.

    Those numbers are about 40% higher than recommended by DATA and DTONLINE and that in itself should be a major H&S concern. Your Headmaster is ultimately responsible for the numbers and their safety and you must draw their attention to the risks.

    Ask him/her or the schools H&S post holder for a Risk Assessment for each of your classes as there will be pupils with SEN, Health related matters, Behavioural concerns etc. that must be Risk Assessed in D&T. This is statutory, but not fully versed as to what is required and how wide the net is cast.

    It is highly unlikely that they will have RAs in place - you must keep insisting as you have been given the responsibility for pupils and this includes a duty to provide and maintain a safe environment. If things go wrong and you are found not to have drawn this to the attentions of the HM or Gov’s nor identified and managed the risk you will up the creak.

    Be prepared for a dog-fight so to speak and it really shouldn’t be. Increasing numbers in classes without RAs and not following recommendations could be/is a clear indication of management malpractice. H&S and Risk comes first!

    I have previously kept numbers down, by providing the above literature and the recommended class sizes. I also provided some Fire Regs given to me by a friend who was in a senior position in the Fire Service.

    This was followed by a polite email asking for a reply from him or the Govs stating that they are aware of the necessary recommendations and acknowledge their responsibilities to create and maintain a safe environment.

    You can imagine the tantrums and veiled threats that followed, but I stood my ground with the evidence at hand. Never did get that statement, but the class sizes weren’t increased beyond 20. RA’s were suddenly a priority for one of the SLT stooges and how they moaned.

    By the way, I recently had to renew my H&S certificate. The presenter, with links to DATA, made it abundantly clear that in the event of an HSE investigation after an accident that the HSE will determine whether H&S regulations and recommendations, including class sizes, were followed. If not, they will prosecute.
    BW12345 likes this.
  9. amazingpurplecow

    amazingpurplecow New commenter

    Class size recommendations given by DATA are all week and good, the issue is that school leadership can use cost as a ‘mitigating factor’ when HSE do a visit or an inspection after an accident.

    I teach groups of 22-26 in KS3 (and rising) and up to 25 in DT, we ‘fortunately’ only have capacity for 16 to sit comfortable in our smaller engineering workshop so have managed to prevent classes from exceeding 18 (which given the North East working class Alpha Male profile of many of our students is the only way we can manage their behaviour safely.)

    The wider issue is the misconception that peer to peer safety monitors is appropriate. If I were an inspector I would be horrified that was considered to be acceptable practise.
    bikerbuoy likes this.

Share This Page