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News - July/August 2017

Class size fears amid cuts and greater pupil numbers

Class size fears amid cuts and greater pupil numbers

A NEW DfE report, Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2017 (published in June), reveals that there are 110,000 more pupils in the school system than in January 2016.

Although most of this increase was still in primary schools, with 74,500 more pupils, a greater increase was also seen in secondary schools than in recent years, with numbers increasing 29,700. In addition, there are 4,400 more pupils in special schools.

The number and proportion of infants in large classes fell between 2016 and 2017, while the average class size for all primary school classes was unchanged. However, the number of secondary school pupils taught in classes of 30+ has gone up by 21% in two years, the National Union of Teachers noted. General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The increase in class sizes over 30 is one of the many consequences of cutting school funding.

“More and more schools are only able to balance their budgets by cutting staff and forming larger classes. Both primary and secondary schools will be put under increasing budgetary pressures to look at ways to ‘make do’ and the Department for Education recommends increasing class size as a way for schools to save money.”

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