A level class sizes

(96 Posts)
Tripilates Wed 14-Sep-16 17:44:39

Just wondering what average A level class size is across the country in the state sector (I'm aware independents have much smaller classes..) and if there's any consistent difference between schools which have 6th forms and 6th form colleges? My DD is in A2 History class of 25 at a local state 6th form college. I feel this is way too large for the poor teacher (same teacher for all lessons) there will be limited chance for discussion and feedback with so many, and as for the essay marking...

MaureenMLove Wed 14-Sep-16 17:51:44

From what I've seen so far at my school, between 15 and 20 seems to be the average. The teacher is probably teaching the same 25 kids he taught at GCSE though, possibly even less, so I'm sure he'll be fine.

MaureenMLove Wed 14-Sep-16 17:52:56

Sorry, that makes no sense now, because you said a 6th form college! I'll go and check our history class size now!

MaureenMLove Wed 14-Sep-16 17:59:03

There's 21 students in each of the yr12 & 13 history classes

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 14-Sep-16 19:41:51

DS1 just started studying A-level courses at a state school. Twenty students in each class. Some of his friends doing less popular subjects have slightly smaller classes, but usually at least fifteen students.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 14-Sep-16 19:45:05

Each subject is taught by two teachers though, so for History, one teacher takes them twice a week (currently doing Mao's China) and the other teacher also has them twice a week (Russia from Lenin to Yeltsin).

situatedknowledge Wed 14-Sep-16 19:47:18

DD has 20ish in each of her Y12 classes. The sixth form college we also looked at said they were the same.

Essexmum69 Wed 14-Sep-16 21:08:13

DDs are all about 20, except German which only has 8. (State grammar sixth form)

Longlost10 Wed 14-Sep-16 23:14:52

My friend had a maths resit GCSE class with 56 on the register. Luckily, they mostly didn't ever turn up, as his room only sat 28 anyway, and that was a pinch. However, he was put in capability for poor attendance in his lessons, and resigned.

Longlost10 Wed 14-Sep-16 23:15:23

That was in a state 6th form, sorry, didn't specify

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 15-Sep-16 07:01:45

Not sure about them all. Maths, English and history all had a fair number, in the high teens I think, probably about 20 foot maths. Classical Civ was about 10-12. Drama AS 5. Spanish was 20 for the AS, dropped to 10 for y13. French dropped from 5 to 2.

(2 for French was not great as there was a large disparity between the abilities. Being on their own would probably have been better for either of them.)

Grammar and comp.

A sixth form college teacher told us that they thought the ideal was about 12-15. The college had a limit of 20.

RamonaTheGreat Thu 15-Sep-16 07:07:29

20 isn't unusual but it is an issue because of the reasons you've mentioned. I think it's to do with funding - post 16 is getting less and less government money and so classes need to be big or the money isn't there to run them.

merlottime Thu 15-Sep-16 07:40:21

A very popular, outstanding sixth form college near me has very large class sizes in popular subjects. Lots of people dont realise this when they join, but once people have left their previous schools it is hard for them to go back unless they make the decision really quickly.

Tripilates Thu 15-Sep-16 09:38:31

Thanks for all the contributions, I agree I think the funding squeeze at post-16 is definitely having an effect, at the same college the poor drama teacher is run ragged, DD got hardly any support for practical work last year. I have emailed director of learning so will see what response I get. I feel so bad for these kids, they are competing with students from the independent sector who are in classes less than half the size, it just seems so bloody unfair sometimes!

nobodysbabynow Thu 15-Sep-16 16:38:29

I teach 6th form and my classes range from 22 - 24. The average size has increased with the funding cuts, and the timetabled hours per subject have decreased, but teachers contact hours have increased. It's a crap state of affairs, especially when you consider that 6th form colleges are very efficient and successful - but they won't stay that way for much longer.

merlottime Thu 15-Sep-16 17:07:23

My frustration is that parents are being mislead by some colleges. The teachers are working so hard in difficult circumstances, but the shiny websites and open evenings are not coming clean on what class sizes actually are.

Longlost10 Thu 15-Sep-16 18:00:13

they are competing with students from the independent sector who are in classes less than half the size, at this level, if they can't work independently, then this is what disadvantages them, not the amount of individual attention they do or don't get fro a teacher.

Longlost10 Thu 15-Sep-16 18:01:58

but the shiny websites and open evenings are not coming clean on what class sizes actually are. but sixth forms don't set their timetables or staffing until after recruitment, then match it to the students they have, so of course they can't possibly know in advance what the class sizes will be, or even if there will be a class at all, in some subjects.

Luciferbox Thu 15-Sep-16 18:03:59

I have 8 in my year 12 class and 5 in year 13. I'm in a standard but high achieving comprehensive.

merlottime Thu 15-Sep-16 18:23:35

Longlost that may be true in some area, but isn't of the college I am familiar with. They are always oversubscribed for traditional subjects and have moved to more of a lecture style approach with more than 30 in a class, which is a shock to the system for the kids and not what parents were expecting. Working independently is I agree a key skill they will need to learn, it's just the expectations don't match with reality for some.

noblegiraffe Thu 15-Sep-16 18:34:57

I teach maths and Y12 classes are usually 20-22. In the same school, some subjects have cushy small classes of 10 or fewer. We need to offer those subjects to attract students to the sixth form as more bums on seats = more funding, then pile them high in the more popular subjects.

scurryfunge Thu 15-Sep-16 18:40:13

30+ years ago I did French A' level in a class of 5 and Spanish A' level in a class of 3 ( state tertiary college). My son however had 20 + in his classes.

MagicChanges Thu 15-Sep-16 18:45:24

I thought AS level for A level was now discontinued but apparently not? It doesn't count towards the A level now so I can't see the point. Can anyone throw any light on this. I hate Gove with a passion but I thought he had abolished it?

5moreminutes Thu 15-Sep-16 18:47:09

When I did A levels at a state 6th form college in 1990 there were about 25 in my history class on day 1 too... By the upper 6th there were about 10, and probably 8 took the exam...

Not sure if 6th form colleges still have the same rate of attrition these days of course ... But the class may not stay that size - all the subjects I took lost a fair number of pupils, but history the most as I think people thought it would be easier than it was!

mumsneedwine Thu 15-Sep-16 19:42:49

Some A levels still count the AS marks, maths being one. And AS still exist as stand alone exams but not all places will offer them - especially if the 1st year syllabus is not the same as the AS one. Sciences are so we are still getting kids to sit AS even though they don't count towards final mark. It is a mess.

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