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45 pupils with one teacher in Reception - can this be legal?

(43 Posts)
Athie Tue 10-Oct-17 20:53:53

My daughter attends Reception at a school with one and a half class intake (45 pupils). The school decided to keep 15 Year One pupils back to make two classes of 30 pupils taught by 2 teachers in a shared space.
We have just discovered that the teachers take it in turns to take the 15 Year One pupils out of the class every morning for booster classes. This means 45 Reception children are left with one teacher every morning. The head argues that because there are also TAs present this is not a problem.
We're so concerned we're considering moving schools. Advice/ insight much appreciated.
BTW - the school in question is an Academy.

G1raffe Tue 10-Oct-17 20:55:09

If there's Tas present it isn't a problem anymore I don't think as the ratio is still more adults .

In our academy my kids are both taught by a hlta a whole day a week... no teacher present at all.

G1raffe Tue 10-Oct-17 20:55:56

Sorry that sentence structure was appalling! I mean they don't see it as 45 kids and 1 teacher but 45 kids and 3 adults.

Athie Tue 10-Oct-17 21:20:51

Thanks for that G1raffe. The only problem is that although the current government may feel 'it isn't a problem anymore' as a parent I do feel that it is a problem. Oh dear...

RebelRogue Tue 10-Oct-17 21:30:42

How long are the booster sessions? What are the other 45 kids doing in the meantime?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 10-Oct-17 21:40:37

The TAs don't count in the ratios though, so it doesn't matter how many they have.

I'm not sure this would have been allowed previously, but given lots of stuff doesn't apply to academies I'm no longer sure.

LootTheRoom Tue 10-Oct-17 21:44:26

If you're not happy with the school's decision then look elsewhere.

gillybeanz Tue 10-Oct-17 21:44:39

It's like this in state schools and pretty much accepted now, with so many cuts, it's inevitable.
I think if you want small or even normal size classes with a teacher you need to shop around or look at going private.
One of my secondary dd classes has 10 children.

G1raffe Tue 10-Oct-17 21:47:04

Rafals - it wouldn't when I was teaching. They used to have to have a teacher in the classroom. Now a hlta "counts."

BarbarianMum Tue 10-Oct-17 21:49:45

Are you worried because you don't like the idea of it, or because you don't like the reality? I can see it working perfectly well if they are organised and get the different activities set up ready before one teacher goes off w the Y1s. There is a lot of free play in the early years curriculum. Certainly enough to allow this sort of arrangement.

AmazingGrace16 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:51:37

This is one of the reasons teachers have been striking. There are plans for this to be a lot more commonplace sad

ShimmeringBollox Tue 10-Oct-17 21:52:01

I used to work in foundation stage, it was quite common back then.
It was fine tbh apart from phonics and a small carpet session as input for that days learning, it was all pretty much playing anyway.
How big is the shared space and how long are the booster classes ?
We used to have teachers and ta's out for fifteen minutes or so for interventions/ boosters, which didn't have a massive impact on the day tbh.

Misspilly88 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:52:24

I did one of my teacher placements in a class of 50. Two teachers and some Tas. The teachers planned all the work but the TAs would lead sessions with groups of children. It's not unusual I'm afraid.

LaLaLady2 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:53:16

Infant class size of 30 children to one qualified teacher still applies in LA maintained schools. Likely not in an academy as there is no requirement to have qualified teachers.

LaLaLady2 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:56:14

Good quality learning through play also requires well qualified/experienced staff if learning and progress is going to happen.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 10-Oct-17 22:10:04

HLTAs can cover for PPA, but I'm not sure they do count as a school teacher in the ratios.

I have a feeling they are not supposed to be teaching long term anyway, just short term cover.

And if these 'booster sessions' last the whole morning the school are definitely taking the piss, even if they are taking the piss within the rules.

G1raffe Tue 10-Oct-17 22:11:09

At our academy they very much do teach a whole day a week, maths sets etc.

G1raffe Tue 10-Oct-17 22:12:08

And yes im not impressed! With funding as it is though I think it's the way teaching is going.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 10-Oct-17 22:15:57

Just out of interest, how are they organising classes further up the school? Because they must have some odd class groupings if they're organising a 1.5 form entry by mixing yr R and 1.

sinceyouask Tue 10-Oct-17 22:16:12

Ds2's school nursery class had 45 dc with one teacher and a few TAS. It was fine. But reception onwards I'd have been unhappy about it.

bunningsbunny Tue 10-Oct-17 22:24:51

Maybe t's something to raise with your MP - get them to look into how it does or doesn't fit with the letter of the regulations or the spirit of them, and to point out how unhappy you are with the situation; it sounds like you feel (rightly!) very cheated by what's going on.

If you have a sympathetic MP, they might be able to raise it as an issue or contribute to debates about education...

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 10-Oct-17 22:45:48

Unfortunately, I suspect a lot of schools are exploiting HLTAs as cheap teaching staff, G1raffe.

Mind you the OP doesn't say there are HLTAs. The school could be pulling the much older EYFS trick of having 2 teachers and using 1 to teach elsewhere. Which is definitely not within the rules.

G1raffe Tue 10-Oct-17 22:47:25

No that would be worse!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 10-Oct-17 23:25:03

What do you reckon the odds are on these booster sessions actually being phonics, maths and English lessons being taught to ks1 and taking almost all or all morning?

prh47bridge Wed 11-Oct-17 00:53:07

Many of the answers on this thread are wrong. The school is clearly and unequivocally breaking the law.

There must be no more than 30 pupils with a teacher in an ordinary teaching session. It makes no difference whether the school is an academy or some other type of school, they are still required to comply with this limit. Whilst an academy does not have to employ teachers with qualified teacher status, they cannot meet the legal requirement by pretending that TAs are teachers. A teacher must be someone who is a teacher for the purposes of section 122 of the Education Act 2002. A TA does not meet that requirement.

Classes can only legally exceed the size limit if some of the pupils are excepted.

The number of infants being taught in over-sized classes is falling although the average class size in infants is holding steady. Classes with more than 32 pupils are extremely uncommon. However, the national statistics don't currently tell us what proportion of the infants in over-sized classes are in illegally over-sized classes.

I think Ofsted would be very interested to hear about this head's interpretation of the infant class size legislation. They will certainly not be impressed if they find 45 pupils with a single teacher when they come visiting.

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