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Appeal question about class sizes

(16 Posts)
LaughingHyena Mon 11-May-15 20:37:01

We've received the school's case for our appeal. While there is nothing totally unexpected there are a couple of things which I would like to question but I'm not sure how to put it.

Firstly although the school intake is 180 per year group, the tutor groups are not split evenly into 30 per group, due t children require support staff or large equipment. A couple in each year 7 - 9 have 28 with others having up to 32.

To me this suggests that clearly the space in the classrooms can accommodate and extra child without to much issue, since it seems standard practice already, but I'm not quite sure how to bring it up.

The other thing is that several times in the info it is mentioned that the school have an unusually high number of students with SEN. Is there somewhere I can find out the average for the local area? Judging by the situation in the primary they attend it doesn't seem that unusual to me.

Eddas Mon 11-May-15 21:02:51

Our appeal info mentions class sizes in relation to the number of students per class, it says that they have a number of larger classrooms to accommodate the bigger classes and they timetable them accordingly, smaller classrooms are used for smaller groups, eg GCSE/A-levels, so it is possible they split them because they have x classrooms to fit 32 and can timetable the classes to accommodate them, but they also need the classes of 28 for the smaller rooms.

Bit wordy, hope it made a bit of sense?!

admission Mon 11-May-15 21:29:51

In effect they have 6 tutor groups (6 X 30) but because of some pupils having support staff etc they do vary a bit. The question for me is whether or not the tutor groups are actually tutor groups for things like registration, PSH etc or are they the actual teaching groups.
It is quite common for there to be more teaching groups than there are tutor groups, so maybe 8 teaching groups for english and maths. They will then vary the size of the class so that the higher attaining groups are 30-32 and lower attaining groups are down at 15. That is a school decision taken for educational reasons and appeal panels are told that they should not second guess what sizes of classes should be. In other words they will not give much weight to an argument that because some classes are smaller that they can admit more pupils. Time tabling does become an important part of the equation and maybe a more telling question is to ask what the room utilisation level is? If it is only 80% they have lots of classrooms not being used all the time, if it is 90% + then the majority of the time the rooms are being used.

stilllearnin Mon 11-May-15 21:39:41

At our stage 1 the council admissions and the head presented for the school. I think a panel member asked about the average SEN intake and got an answer but I'm not sure where that takes you. Perhaps someone else will know. The thing with SEN is such a lot of provision is not on a statement from what I can work out. The panel definitely asked about wheelchair users to weigh up whether classes should be smaller than usual.

eddiemairswife Mon 11-May-15 22:13:22

In my LA most of the comprehensives have 30/30+ pupils in their higher ability groups. My argument for the one selective school in the LA would be that as all their pupils are high ability they should be able to cope with 30 in each class.

LaughingHyena Tue 12-May-15 10:29:16

I'm pretty certain that at least some subjects are taught in their tutor groups, at least for y 7-9. Only having certain rooms for the larger classes would make sense.

Either way its something we'll be asking them to explain a little more.

The SEN figures are still puzzling me, looking at the figures from OFSTED the school is quite a way below the national average. As far as I'm able to tell both do take into account those children without statements/ECH plans. Again I doubt it makes that much difference to our case but we'll be asking for an explanation as it seems a bit odd.

It does seem that the school have quite a few students with mobility issues. As the other local option is an old building on several different levels and pretty inaccessible it's not that surprising.

Naynay2408 Tue 12-May-15 17:18:58

Hello, just out of curiosity does anyone know what the SEN national average? My school's case is stating they have 5 SEN and 12 looked after in the year group i am appealing for. However, in there case no mention of class sizes etc.

eddiemairswife Tue 12-May-15 18:16:07

DfE perfomance tables state 7.4% statemented or on school action plus for the cohort who sat GSCE last year.

prh47bridge Tue 12-May-15 18:23:38

17.8% of pupils attending state funded secondary schools in England have SEN. That covers both those with statements (1.9%) and those without statements (15.9%).

Naynay2408 Tue 12-May-15 18:35:03

Thank you. A bit bad at maths. If there is 150 pupils, 5 SEN and 12 looked after that would be what %...��

Naynay2408 Tue 12-May-15 18:36:11

I think that's 7.5%

Naynay2408 Tue 12-May-15 18:39:39

That's 7.5% for SEN.... I think

prh47bridge Tue 12-May-15 20:54:45

I'm not sure how you arrive at that figure. The LAC are not relevant to the calculation - they are not SEN. So with 5 pupils with SEN out of an intake of 150 that is 3.333%. If that is just pupils with statements that is a little on the high side but if it includes all pupils with SEN it is very low.

Naynay2408 Tue 12-May-15 21:21:15

Hi prh47brigde. 5 pupils out of 150 is with SEN. My maths is bad, but I worked out 150/100 = 1.5 (%) x by 5 = 7.5% that's how I worked it out, obviously I must be wrong.
If it is 3.333% how did u work that out just out of curiosity.
And if it is 3.333% is this considered high? How will that effect my case?

Thank you for your response prh47brigde

Naynay2408 Tue 12-May-15 21:26:47

The school's case stated, twelve looked after or previously looked children and five children with Special Education Needs or who have Education Health Care Needs"

With that I'm assuming it means 5 children with SEN out of 150

prh47bridge Tue 12-May-15 23:40:13

Yes, your maths is bad. You work out the percentage as 5 * 100 / 150. The way you have calculated it 150 would be 225% of 150!

As I said, if they mean they have 5 pupils with statements that is high. If they have 5 pupils with SEN including those without statements that is very low.

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