Class Sizes

29 June 2017

Commenting on Department for Education statistics which show that the number of secondary school pupils taught in classes of 30+ has gone up by 21% in two years, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The increase in class sizes over 30 is one of the many consequences of cutting school funding.  More and more schools are only able to balance their budgets by cutting staff and forming larger classes. Both primary and secondary schools will be put under increasing budgetary pressures to look at ways to ‘make do’ and the Department for Education recommends increasing class size as a way for schools to save money. The DfE describes this as an ‘efficiency saving’.

“Parents will be dismayed that Government does not value the individual attention given to every child.  Alongside larger class sizes, cuts to the curriculum, school trips, resources and an increasing reliance on parental donations, are now the norm. 

“It is of particular concern that the Government is cutting the number of secondary school teachers at the same time as the number of pupils is rising. The Government must act to arrest this trend and put in a 5% funding increase now so that head teachers can replace staff who are leaving this summer.”

“The Government remains silent on their plans for school funding. This is no way to run state education. We can and must do better."

Year

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

Secondary pupils

3,262,635

3,234,875

3,210,120

3,181,360

3,184,730

3,193,420

3,223,090

Classroom teachers

197,600

194,200

194,300

192,400

190,600

187,900

185,400

Pupils per classroom teacher 

16.5

16.7

16.5

16.5

16.7

17.0

17.4

Sources:

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2017

School workforce in England: November 2016


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