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Class sizes: teachers are dealing with bigger classes

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    'Average class sizes have risen in nearly nine out of 10 constituencies since 2010, according to research by the country's biggest teaching union.

    Out of 533 constituencies in England, 474 have seen an increase in their average class size since the start of the decade, NEU research shows.

    Average class size has fallen in just 59 constituencies over the same period.

    The findings come as one in three teachers have named "reducing class size" as the top priority for the next government in an NEU survey.’


    What are your views about the issue? How many pupils were in the smallest and biggest class you have taught in your career? What are the challenges of teaching a bigger class?
    mathswife and valroti like this.
  2. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter

    My largest class ever was 29 students in 1981. The second largest was 27 in 1975. There were no other years in which I had a class of more than 25. In 2005, my year 7 English classes were 15 each and my Year 11 English class was 19. I can’t find other figures for that year.

    Larger classes made it harder to give students who needed it extra attention and either reduced the thoroughness of correction o or increased the time it took.
  3. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I wonder if the 59 constituencies where class sizes have fallen are marginal constituencies which the Tories either hope to win or hang on to.
  4. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    I once had a year 11 class of 34. It was nightmare. HoD (science) told the head I would not be doing any practical work as the labs were too small for this to be safe.
    As a pupil in junior school I remember being in a class of over 40 we were packed in like cattle.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    All my KS3 classes have 32 pupils. It's exhausting
  6. bessiesmith2

    bessiesmith2 New commenter

    Same - we have increased from around 28 students in each KS3 class 5 years ago to 32 in each class now. Those extra 4 students make a lot of difference, especially in a practical subject.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter

    When I started all our primary school classes had 36 children, no T.A.s except in Reception - though I don't think they were called T.A.s. When an upper limit of 30 children was put into place in KS1 my school continued with that number in KS2 until about 5 years ago when it was raised to 32. For a while each class had a full time TA, that's changed a couple of years ago and now we have a TA for half a day.

    The children have a much more challengin/complex range of circumstances/syndromes/behaviours than when I first started, quite a few children who would not then have gone into mainstream schools now attend. The funding for 1:1 assistants has gone down and children with very challenging behaviours do not get the support they need and the rest of the class deserve.
    Lalad and agathamorse like this.
  8. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    Classes have always been large for me. It is impossible to help the struggling students whilst pushing the HA if you have 30 in a class. Some of my classes are so large there aren’t enough seats or desks for them.
  9. JasmineBroadbent

    JasmineBroadbent New commenter

    I am a trainee teacher teaching classes of no less than 30 students. The biggest difficulty I find with classes of this size is behaviour management. With the support of a fantastic department, I am improving my management skills but it is certainly not easy being 1 trainee teacher in a room full of 30+ students doing a science experiment.
  10. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    It is not legal for a trainee to be in charge of a full class, particularly a science practical.
    agathamorse likes this.

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