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class sizes to be allowed over thirty, what do we think?

(42 Posts)
denialandpanic Sat 13-Apr-13 09:11:38

Did anyone see this seems to have slid out yesterday afternoon? there's an article in yesterday's guardian I need to try and do a link on my phone back in a moment.I'm not sure the undersized rooms in my dcs school could fit many more children

Loa Sun 14-Apr-13 11:15:23

DS reception last year was supposed to be 60 places two teachers - thanks to appeals it was 65.

DS was in the larger reception class of 33 - he made little progress - we weren't the only parents worried about that - and we felt his teacher didn't know him at all making bland generic statements about him that know one else recognized. There were two TA in his class.

Yr 1 fair few DC left before he in a class of 29 and has one TA I think mainly assigned to one DC - his teacher knows him well and he was identified for small amount of extra help and he gone from being below the average targets to being above.

Obviously I can't say its the class size rather than other things but I do think if you have a quiet well behaved DC in a large class they are the ones that are going be missed and the longer it goes on the harder for them to catch up.

mrz Sun 14-Apr-13 11:00:01

Many years ago when we first set up an Early Years Unit the consensus was that 60 children per setting was the optimal size IMHO this is still the case regardless of staffing levels.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 10:51:23

If you read the article - there are 2 teachers and the size of the class is 60-70 (so there are actually 30-35 children per teacher which is the same ration as any other school for Y3-Y6)

Some schools do this in reception too - they have a huge open area and mix 2 or 3 classes (so up to 90 pupils in total) with 3 qualified staff and allow free movement with small groups for teaching.
Some schools mix Early Years provision and reception so have upto 120 children in one class with 4 teachers plus TAs.
As long as the staff ratio is correct (30 children per qualified teacher for YR-Y2) this is perfectly allowed and even considered good practice by some.

Of course though it works better in schools that are purpose built for this arrangement as some new schools are.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 09:50:25

Classes of 70? Learning more?

Learning more what, exactly?

How to queue? How to copy things down? How to teach peers in the absence of a qualified member of staff? How to cope in a bustling learning environment with the ambience of an airport departure lounge? How to sit in wet or dirty pants all day in the absence of age appropriate personal care?


insanityscratching Sun 14-Apr-13 09:40:14

mrz we have exactly the same experience in our area, LA merged two schools and are building a new school (opens September) but the new school accommodates only two thirds of the pupils it is supposed to be serving (those currently housed in the two schools) The only other school feasible is already 100 plus over numbers. I can't quite get the reasoning behind it tbh.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 09:20:21

They can only go above 30 per class (in YR - Y2) in exceptional cases eg where a child should have got a place but the council stuffed up their application. This has been the situation for years and hasn't changed. The law restricting YR-Y2 classes to 30 still stands.

Basically nothing has changed except the obligation to employ an extra qualified teacher in Year 1 if the reception class still has more than 30 chidlren in it at that stage. They used to have to do this. Now they don't.

I do agree though - the shortage of places for primary (and secondary too in some areas) is awful. However councils will have to deal with that as they have always done. Hopefully through long term planning to provide more permanent places and also through bulge classes and sending children to schools further away from home.

There is no provision to just sneak one or two children into every reception class to make up for the shortage of primary places.

mrz Sun 14-Apr-13 09:14:05

amidaiwish Sun 14-Apr-13 09:13:01

I think it's shocking. This year 31,32 which will creep up and up.
Even 30 is too many with a TA every morning in DD2's yr2 class and no (official) SN though there's about 6 kids who need a LOT of support and the likes of DD2 get left to get on with it by herself. Am close to telling the HT that on Fridays DD2 will not attend school as it is not feasible for me to get all the work covered out of school hours!

Jaynebxl Sun 14-Apr-13 09:03:30

Boffin shhhh! Don't give anyone ideas!

mrz Sun 14-Apr-13 09:00:36

In my area two secondary schools have merged and a new school built in a central location to replace them ... for some reason the new school can accommodate fewer students than either of the old schools so creating an immediate shortfall.
The main secondary school where I teach has also been rebuilt much smaller than the previous school so is already at capacity.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 08:55:40

You can have enormous classes, but you need to sit children in rows and hit them if they don't comply with instructions. They will also need to spend a lot of time on routinised tasks. It's called a factory model for learning.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 14-Apr-13 08:45:36

Admission - the crisis point in some areas will come far sooner than in 10 years time. The crisis point in my town is going to cone in September 2015, for both Primary and Secondary at the same time.

We will be 157 places short in my end of town for Primary, and 45 short in the other end of town - so nowhere to even send the DC's from this end of town.

These are pupils that will not get a Reception place in our town at all. The current solution (as the new primary is delayed and will now not be open on time) is to taxi these 4yo's, without their parents, to the next town over, 30 miles away, to 2 schools in Special Measures...

And for Secondary, our town will be 120 places short in my end of the town, and 50 short in the other end.

There is meant to be a new Secondary opening, as a second site of an existing school - but it's also running late and won't be open in time for the 2015 intake.

They haven't come up with a solution for this yet...

Why does this bother me, and why am I so interested in these facts? Because DS2 goes into Y7 in September 2015, and DS3 starts Reception at the same time...

And if you want to talk about placement shortages, there are already estimates that our town will be 70 places short for DC's requiring placement at SN school...

So should be great fun for everyone.

I accept that in 10 years time, there will be another massive shortfall of Secondary places, to allow for those born in the 2010-2011 Academic year, but it's not the immediate concern in my town!!

Jaynebxl Sun 14-Apr-13 08:40:23

Definitely in our area you can't get more than 30 in a class unless it goes through appeal at the county, and even then almost all appeals fail.

Having taught mainstream classes of 30 as well as classes abroad of less than 20 I have always felt that the single biggest contributing factor to improving standards in schools is class size. Actually it would probably be completely changing some children's family situations but that's out of our hands!

Mrsrobertduvall Sun 14-Apr-13 08:30:13

There were on average 42 children in my 1960s infants and junior classes.
No TAs.

admission Sat 13-Apr-13 21:47:41

This is ridiculous press gossip, being fuelled by the problems that do exist.
The bottom line is that legally the maximum number of infant pupils that can be with one school teacher is 30, that has been the law since 1998 act. It does not stop the class having more than 30 pupils, what it means is that if thee are more than 30 in the class then there has to be two teachers. As Tiggytape says there are exceptional circumstances by which the class can be more than 30 but not having enough school places is not one of them for a normal year of entry to the school.
There are all sorts of reasons why this is becoming more of a problem but what has not been resolved properly is how the new schools that are needed will be funded and built. It is no use the government saying that there will be 190,000 extra school places in SEptember, if a significant number of them are secondary school places when the level of pupils across secondary schools is currently dropping - that will be the crisis point i 10 years time, not now.

tiggytape Sat 13-Apr-13 13:13:58

The only thing changing is the rule that an extra teacher needs to be employed if a class is above numbers for a year.
It has always been the case that classes can go over 30 in exceptional circumstances as the article says.
However, when they did, it was only allowed to stay like that for a year before an extra qualified teacher had to be employed.
Now they can stay above the official numbers without this extra teacher but the 'exceptional circumstances' that allow larger classes have always existed.

lljkk Sat 13-Apr-13 10:28:34

It's not changing much, just from 30 to 31 or 32. DS had a yr1 class of 31, he coped.

DC school has class sizes the same as national average for state schools, about 26 but sometimes down to 22 (DD's y3 class, and current y6 class).

RaspberryLemonPavlova Sat 13-Apr-13 10:27:08

I don't think this is competetely new though, is it not part of the new admissions code which takes effect from this September, and had been part of in-year admissions for the last year?

mrz Sat 13-Apr-13 10:17:03

I think the difference is that in the past young children were much more static in the classroom and schools didn't have to fit in as many activity areas - sand trays, role play etc.
Generally older (pre 60s) schools have bigger classrooms but I would think class numbers will still be restricted by the size of the room.

BettyandDon Sat 13-Apr-13 10:09:08

Sounds confusing to be honest. Who decides if a school should take more than 30 per class. Surely parents would be in favour if preferred school is oversubscribed and therefore more chance of their children getting a place.

How annoyed would you be though if you were 1st on the waiting list, yet other schools have over 30 in their classes?

Minefield I think.

denialandpanic Sat 13-Apr-13 10:06:05

yes swallowed, our school is a sixties build and I have heard the head say the classes are considered "undersized"'. They certainly seem much smaller than I recall in my brand new eighties primary but then I'm a lot biggergrin .kids seem crammed into dds year one class.

swallowedAfly Sat 13-Apr-13 10:02:01

depends where the school is auntie. just because there were bigger classes in theory doesn't mean there were more than 30 kids in what was once a small village so the classes were built small iyswim.

AuntieStella Sat 13-Apr-13 10:01:01

Older school buildings are the ones that will cope - the 30 limit is fairly recent, and there were 40 (no TA) in my junior school.

It's a step to cope with the numbers crisis, I suppose. Many LAs know they will have a shortfall (huge in some places, especially those which were selling off 'surplus' school buildings in the 00s when scale of migration was becoming apparent).

There just isn't the public money to build enough new school in the right places and in time. And these children need to go somewhere - class sizes of 32ish won't prejudice the education and, together with bulge classes (if any schools are left with save for more prefabs), might keep numbers manageable.

swallowedAfly Sat 13-Apr-13 10:00:48

beginning to think we're quite lucky. classes are 30 kids and each has a dedicated TA. only year one but both reception and this year that has been the case. think the TA is a genuine TA rather than learning support for a specific child.

TheHumancatapult Sat 13-Apr-13 09:56:33

ds year 3 and has 39 in his and theres a TA who officially is for the 6 children with s@l problems ( including my ds) but she ends up being used for whole class

but in younger years more than 30 as only school in the area

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