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science class sizes

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Corvuscorax, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    This is from the DofE. I don't understand how this applies. Does it mean you can go over 20 but not ove 26 in year 8-10? who sticks to that?

    In summary, the Department is prepared to approve a class size in excess of 20 pupils in Science, Technology and Design, Home Economics, Art and Design, Physical Education and Music classes – up to the maximum number as detailed in the table below. The Department’s approval for a higher class size can be assumed as long as the school authorities first undertake a health and safety risk assessment and are content with the findings of that risk assessment. A school must be content that any practical activities are unlikely to present a risk to the health and safety of the pupils in the class or the teaching and support staff involved in the class. The school must determine the maximum class size based on the findings of the risk assessment.

    Practical Subject Year Maximum number of pupils
    Science 8-10 26
    Science 11-12 24
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    My biggest class in Year 11 this year is 33
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    so that's a no then.

    Does that have any legal or insurance implications?
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Your statement is from the Northern Ireland DfE and so is irrelevant in England and Wales.

    From the NEU website:

    Class sizes, room sizes and safety in practical lessons
    The longstanding convention – and NEU action policy – that class sizes in practical lessons should not exceed 20 has no basis in law in England and Wales, neither is it explicitly set out in Department for Education (DfE) guidance.

    The 1918 Education Act limited practical classes to 20 pupils. The Elementary Education Code 1922 – Statutory Rules and Orders 1922, No. 1432, made under Section 118 of the Education Act 1921, Chapter 2 Paragraph 14, expanded on an earlier regulation, and stated that: “The number of children on the registers of any class in Domestic Subjects, Handicraft, Gardening and other practical subjects must not exceed 20, except that this number may be increased to 40 in classes in Handicraft provided that the class has at least two teachers if more than 20 children are registered.”

    Regrettably, this legislation is no longer in force. Regulations do exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where no practical class may exceed 20 pupils, with certain caveats and exceptions in the case of Northern Ireland. In England and Wales, however, it is necessary to determine class sizes on a risk assessment basis, taking account of the provisions of a number of relevant guidance documents as appropriate.

    Science laboratories
    As far as science classrooms are concerned, the now out-of-print DfEE publication Safety in Science Laboratories 1996 states: “There is no statutory limitation on class size in any subject in schools in England and Wales. Teachers who are concerned that risks in practical work are increased to an unacceptable level because of the class size should report their concerns to the head of their science department and, if necessary, their head teacher. It may be possible to adopt alternative methods for particular pieces of work. However, if risks cannot be made acceptable, the activity must cease until it can be resumed safely.” (para 7.6 page 25)
    install likes this.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Thank you for clarifying
  6. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    34 in my year 11 class it was 35 when I had the same group of students in year 10 but one has left the school. It is impossible to do practical work safely, the lab is much too crowded. HoD agrees with me. It will be demonstrations and videos...again.
  7. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Makes bu99er all difference what anyone says.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Well, I never saw any of these risk assessments. I made my own decisions about appropriate activities.
    One or two classes were only able to do the bare minimum of practical learning.
  9. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    In Scotland I think it's still 20 max for any practical class, including science - right through secondary.

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