Article in the Guardian-class sizes

A recent article by Oliver James (Guardian 11 November) refers to the evidence that smaller classes really do create better educated children. However the issue of smaller class sizes, for example in the mid teens as opposed to the usual 30 pupils per class limit, has not been part of any government’s agenda for a long time. Longtitudinal studies in both Tennessee and in UK demonstrate that small classes mean improved results for primary aged children. The UK study tracked more than 10,000 pupils in 300 schools from entry to the end of primary school. It also suggested reasons why “small is beautiful”: for example, teachers could spend more time with individual children and the children were more inquisitive, better behaved and were more involved in the educational process. Interestingly, the evidence shows that whilst having Teaching Assistants in larger classes does free up Teachers to work in a more individualised way, their presence does not have the same effect on outcomes as smaller classes. Professor Peter Blatchford’s summary of class size evidence appears on

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