Average class sizes have increased in 89% of constituencies in England, a study by the NEU has found. Alongside this, the union has found that reducing class sizes came top when members were asked to vote on which policy was most important in improving quality of education.
The analysis of class sizes indicated that almost a million pupils are now in classes of 31 or more, a 29% increase from 2011. However, last month the DfE claimed that ‘average class sizes have remained stable’.
Joint general secretary of the NEU, Dr Mary Bousted has blamed these figures on the funding crisis in education. “The real-terms funding crisis has had catastrophic effects, including a direct impact on class size. Today’s analysis will ring true for every parent who has witnessed their school cutting teaching assistant posts, reducing subject choice or organising fundraiser events and begging letters.”
A recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that Britain has the biggest primary school classes in the developed world.
There is no limit on class sizes beyond the age of 7 with pupils aged 4-7 required to be in classes of 30 or fewer to one teacher.
Research by the EEF has found that reducing class size does not have clear impacts until it significantly reduced to fewer than 20 pupils.