‘The atmosphere is of utmost concentration’: Inside the primary school with classes of 67

You may have read about Broadclyst Community Primary School, Devon in the news. Last month, headlines squealed about the school’s “super-size” classes of more than 60 pupils used “to save on teaching costs” – far more than the 30-child average and illegal for children under the age of seven. iNews reports

It’s true there are 67 pupils in this Year 6 literacy lesson, but the atmosphere is one of upmost concentration. Crucially, this is not a classroom, it is a lecture theatre, and is designed with technology in mind.

Standing at the front of the room’s semi-circle of desks, Ms Williams can see every pupil – and thanks to the lecture theatre-style, tiered seating, every pupil can clearly see her.

She wears a microphone headset, allowing her to address the class without shouting. There is also a camera above her workings, from which an image is projected onto the wall behind her as well as three smaller screens around the room for all 67 pupils to see.

Years of chronic underfunding in education combined with increased pressure from Government on schools to perform means head teachers might be forgiven for finding creative ways to save a bit of cash – and so-called “supersized” classrooms are a growing phenomena.

But Broadclyst’s head teacher, Jonathan Bishop, insists that money was not the main motivator here. He designed the lecture theatre himself, driven by a “desire for one-to-one access to IT, designed around a focal point. It’s actually inspired by traditional chalkboard learning,” he tells i.

Read more about this very hi-tech school and it’s much higher than average national standard in reading, writing and maths  ‘The atmosphere is of upmost concentration’: Inside the primary school with classes of 67 

Too much screen time? By using technology in all classes are they not just embracing the future making their pupils ready for the step? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

 

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