Class sizes up in ‘two-thirds of secondary schools

The BBC reports that two-thirds of secondary schools in England have increased the size of their classes in the past two years, an analysis of official figures suggests. 

The analysis, by education unions, suggests the five areas with the fullest classes have all seen increases between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

The Department for Education said the figures were flawed. And it said average class sizes had seen little change since 2010, adding that in secondaries they were 20.8 per class in 2017.

But the unions, representing heads, teachers and support staff, say the fact classes are becoming fuller in the five areas with the fullest classes – Barnsley, Rutland, Thurrock, Newham and Leicester – shows ministers are failing in their stated aim to even out the differences in education.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said “Larger classes mean less individual support for students, and put more pressure on teachers at a time when we desperately need to reduce workload.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of National Association of Head Teachers, said:  “91% of schools face real-terms budget cuts compared to 2015-16 at a time when costs are rising and pupil numbers are growing”.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “For many it is their only chance of an education and it cannot be ruined by ministers who believe starving schools of cash is either acceptable or workable.”

Read more Class sizes up in ‘two-thirds of secondary schools

Have class sizes increased recently in your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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