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Dear Stephen - limits on numbers of children in each classroom

Discussion in 'Governors' started by mystery10, May 23, 2012.

  1. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    My school has classrooms of varying sizes - some quite small. Will there be a document anywhere which sets out the upper limit on the number of pupils that can be educated in each individual classroom? These are KS2 classes so not subject to the KS2 class size legislation.
    Thanks
     
  2. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    My school has classrooms of varying sizes - some quite small. Will there be a document anywhere which sets out the upper limit on the number of pupils that can be educated in each individual classroom? These are KS2 classes so not subject to the KS2 class size legislation.
    Thanks
     
  3. No,there won't be. There is no encompasing legislation.
    However, your school will have a set admission number which sets out how many children the school should have in each year group. It is set for the whole school and is usually a multiple of 15 for obvious reasons. A 1 Form Entry school will have an admissions number of 30, 2 FE would be 60 etc. I am in a small school and therefore have 15 as my number.
    At KS2 this is not strictly enforceable a school may allow a cohort to go over the admission number; pupils mean pounds (£).
     
  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I onced worked in a school with a pupil admission limit of 6. My current schools is 35, my last schools was 50. It's not always multiples of 15. I've taught classes of 40 in ks2. Not great, but totally legal.
     
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I was meaning in terms of floorspace. Isn't there something which actually looks at the physical size of a classroom and says how many children can be educated in that classroom? I know that at KS2 you can put as many children as you like in a class, and at KS1 it's currently 30 per qualified teacher (but might be increased soon). However, if a classroom is too small to physically provide the space for all the children to sit down at a desk and write at the same time, there must surely be something to prevent that situation?
    I thought there was something called a "net capacity assessment" which the LA would hold for all schools (apart from academies) perhaps. Is that right? What does it have in it?
     
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Hi Curly girly, what do you think of a class of 40 with two teachers (in the same room). It sounds good to me - or does it have some big downsides?
     
  7. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    It depends very much on the curriculum. Not all learning has to take place sitting down at a table. It's really difficult to pass comment as every school is different and has different ways of working.
     
  8. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    No sure, not all learning has to take place sitting at a table .......... but if you always have to have a certain percentage not seated at a table then that's different from ringing the changes because that is the best way to learn and choosing who and when not to seat, IYSWIM.
    Hopefully there is a room big enough - I'm just not good at visualising that number of tables, chairs, and bottoms in any of the current rooms.
     
  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Did you remove them for a particular lesson, day or week, or for a whole year? There's a difference surely. And where did you put them? There's nowhere to put them in this school other than stacking them in the corner of the classroom (if they are stackable!).
     
  10. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I took them out permanently and put them in a shed outside. Didn't want them.
    I did this in my current school too - some were used for display spaces around school, some went into storage. If we hadn't had storage I would have sold them off on the LA for sale boards.
    Not every child has to have a seat all the time, particularly in the younger years, it really depends on how you run the school and your curriculum.
     
  11. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Wouldn't you expect a year 3/4 class all to be able to sit down at the same time, when this was the best thing "learning-wise"?
    No shed, no space for display spaces, so selling the tables off is the only option here ......... and maybe some children too!!
     
  12. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Not necessarily - it very much depends on the curriculum and style of teaching/ learning. In my school it would be rare to see all children sitting down at once, much of the learning takes place outside, or working in groups through different methods. My KS2 classes do have a seat for every child because we're a big school so we can, but they could manage without them for much of the time.
    Having worked in 2 very small schools (1.a 2 class one with a classroom and a class taught in the hall that eventually became a 3 class one with a classroom and 2 classes taught in the hall, 2. A 5 class one with the nearest suitable space for a hall a short bus ride away) I know that smaller schools have to be flexible. It's doable though.
    In the school where I worked without a hall, we used to do PE outside wherever possible but if the weather was bad we moved the tables into a corner and did PE in the space available. You learn to adapt.
    In the school where there were classes taught in the hall we used to swap classrooms so that we could do PE. The 2 classes would go into my classroom and I would use the hall space for PE - moving the tables to the sides. This was in the class where I got rid of most of the tables too so I would have 2 junior classes in my infant classroom with only 2 group tables. It worked.
    Pupils made excellent progress, the schools had fantastic results and reputations and deservedly so.
    Nobody works in an ideal situation, but you adapt to what you have and at the end of the day it's good teaching that makes the difference.
     
  13. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I am sure you are right that good teaching makes the biggest difference. But at this particular school it would require a completely different way of teaching. There is lots of time in year 3/4 when children are sitting down working independently on a piece of writing, or a set of maths questions, or doing a test.
    How do you give children the opportunity to write at length if there are not enough tables and chairs? Or do you expect them to crouch over their book writing on the floor?

     
  14. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    No but they don't all have to be writing at the same time, do they?
    Just because the school doesn't work like that now, it doesn't mean it can't. Schools change, adapt and evolve.
    What we do works for us, it gets results, the children make accelerated progress, they love school, the parents like it (there's a waiting list, a rarity in a very deprived catchment area) and the powers that be like it too (the big O)
     
  15. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    No I agree with you, all things are possible, and whatever you are doing is clearly working wonderfully well in your school. However, in this situation I don't think that for just one year a whole style of teaching and organising the curriculum is going to change because one overly-large class is being "managed" through the system until an extra classroom is available. This is the school where the whole school from year 1 upwards sits down at the same time on the same day to write a story on the same topic!! But I do hope you are right!!


     
  16. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    It may well be that the school is going to overhaul its curriculum entirely. Who knows? All schools are different which is why a forum like this can provide examples but not a clear cut solution, that will depend on your school. In response to your op the answer is no. Having taught 38 y6 in a class designed for 25 y1s where we had to move a table to open the door, I'm afraid you just have to deal with it. You could always set up a free school (tongue firmly in cheek)
     
  17. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I could indeed!! They are definitely not going to overhaul the whole curriculum for just one year ........ it's just not that kind of place.
    Your small year 6 classroom sounds like one of those toilet cubicles that has been designed without a human being in mind, where you have to jump up onto the seat to get the door open in order to get out of it safely.
    Yes I'm sure teachers do just have to deal with it ......... but in the situation I am describing it is one which the school has put itself into for no particular reason that I can as yet see.
    At some point health and safety issues must arise ....... your escape route sounded a little uncertain from the fire authority's point of view. It might have been better to have some children suspended from the ceiling than have a table in front of the door!!!
     
  18. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    The building that class was in was condemned the week before an ofsted inspection (I'm going back a good 16years) butwe kept on teaching in it because there was no money for a new building. Once the government changed anew school was built. You say the school is doing it for no good reason. As a governor you should know the reasons. Has it had its pal changed by the la to cope with a rise in birth rates or other local factors?
     
  19. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Ah I'm not a governor, but yes hopefully the governors do know. I think as a VA school they are allowed to raise their standard admissions numbers pretty much however they want. Also the new schools admissions code seems to be pretty relaxed about schools upping their standard numbers - going up sounds easy, it's coming down that looks harder!
    I think the driver for the expansion is to try and move away from mixed year groups. The ultimate plan is to move from 7 X 15 in four classes to 7 x 20 in 6 classes - so two classes would be mixed age and 4 classes would not be.
    As parents we do not really know why. I think the long term plan will be fine once enacted (apart from being more expensive per head) but it is proving painful getting there. Of course, as a Governor one would have to take a view of the long term gain rather than the shorter term pain.
     
  20. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I think there is an assumption in the new admissions code that schools can go up in numbers pretty much freely, and of course VA schools are pretty much in charge of their own destiny relative to controlled schools or community schools.
    As a parent I don't see an imperative to removing mixed age classes; however, I can see that maybe the current head and governors feel that it is detrimental to the education. But yes, round here, the majority of the smaller schools (including ones which are OFSTED outstanding) have mixed age classes, so I agree that from the outside it does not really seem like a likely reason for the expansion. However, it does appear to be the reason as the whole thing started out with a stated desire to move to 7 classes of 20.
    The thing that puzzles me is how affordable it will be. 140 children in 6 classes seems to me quite expensive staffing -wise (particularly relative to the old model of 105 children in 4 classes) - it's 2 more teachers with only 35 more children. 140 children in 5 classes would seem more affordable to me.
    It's all a bit of a puzzle to me. I'm just hoping that the building work will all take place a lot faster than they are planning for (not usually the case with building work I know!) and the year of pain can be avoided.
     

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