Schools chief says Education Minister Kirsty Williams’ drive for smaller classes won’t improve standards

Wales Online is reporting that the validity of a multi-million-pound policy to reduce class sizes has been called into question after Wales’ chief schools inspector questioned its impact on standards.

Head of Estyn Meilyr Rowlands said classroom size “doesn’t seem to be a big factor in our inspection outcomes” and suggested reducing pupil numbers to 25 would make little difference.

His comments contrast with those made by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams, who believes reducing class sizes will ease the burden on teacher workload and help raise pupil attainment .

When asked about the impact of class sizes on school standards, Mr Rowlands said: “It doesn’t seem to be a big factor in our inspection outcomes. Clearly, if you halved the size of a class then it would make a difference to the amount of time a teacher could spend with a child.”

Owen Hathway, policy officer for teachers’ union NUT Cymru, said he was very supportive of the Welsh Government’s class size policy.

“If we commit to a proper class size reduction policy then we lessen the workload burden on teachers, while improving both the quality and quantity of time teachers spend with pupils,” he said.

“Teaching assistants play an important role in our schools but they are neither qualified nor paid to teach and we shouldn’t mistake increasing the number of teaching assistants with increasing standards.”

More at: Schools chief says Education Minister Kirsty Williams’ drive for smaller classes won’t improve standards

Do you think reducing class sizes will make a noticeable difference on students performance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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