Three out of four teachers in the United Kingdom claim that class sizes are increasing, which, according to the survey, has a negative impact on pupils’ progress, levels of performance and behavior during teaching.
As schools try to help students catch up due to ongoing problems resulting from the pandemic, more than nine out of 10 (95%) teachers warned that larger classes impaired their ability to meet the needs of all students.
According to a survey of more than 3,000 teachers conducted by the NASUWT teachers’ union, 91% thought that class size adversely affected their pupils’ progress and performance, while 90% felt that it had a detrimental effect on pupils’ behavior.
The union, which will discuss the issue at its annual conference in Birmingham on Sunday, says the number of classes is increasing due to a shortage of teachers and an increasing number of students on school lists. Many teachers also fear that cramped conditions support the spread of Covid.
Almost eight out of 10 teachers (78%) who surveyed said that more in the class meant that there were not enough teaching resources to use, and 75% of teachers who said more in the classroom said more as a third (37%) stated. the number has increased “significantly”.
NASUWT members will vote on a proposal calling on governments and administrations across the UK to introduce maximum class sizes at all key levels of education. There is currently no legal limit on the size of any class above key grade 1 for pupils aged 5-7 in England and Wales, where classes are limited to 30 or less.
One teacher who took part in the survey said that the lack of staff in their primary school meant that they were asked to combine their class with 22 pupils with a colleague’s class with 24 when they were absent from work.
“The classroom is too small to accommodate 46 students at desks. Some have to sit and work on the floor. In particular, it is not possible to meet the needs of all students [those with] additional training needs in this situation without the support of a class assistant. I and the students consider the situation stressful, “they said.
Another teacher from her early years said, “I have so many kids that most days it’s hard to put them all on the carpet. At the time of learning throughout the classroom, it seems impossible to meet the educational needs of all these children. ”
According to government figures, the number of primary and nursery school attendees peaked in 2019, and since then these numbers have begun to decline. However, the numbers are still increasing in secondary schools, where the peak of the population is not expected until 2024.
Of those surveyed by NASUWT, two-thirds (67%) blamed the increase in enrollment for the growing number of students in the class, two out of five (40%) said it was due to staff reductions, while the same proportion reported cuts. in the budget or financial pressures.
Dr Patrick Roach, Secretary General of NASUWT, said: “The increase in the number of students in the classroom has a detrimental effect on students’ learning experiences as well as the health and safety of teachers and students.
“This situation again reveals the failure of government oversight over the last decade to plan for the placement of students or to secure the additional investment needed to increase the number of teachers. Children and their teachers deserve better. “
A spokesman for the Ministry of Education said that 1 million more school places had been created in the last 11 years, which is the largest increase in school capacity in two generations.
“In primary schools, the average class size in 2020/21 has decreased compared to 2019/20 – most primary schools have 27 or fewer pupils per class. In secondary schools, class sizes remain low, with an average of 22 pupils per class in 2020/21, despite an increase of almost 800,000 pupils in the system since 2010. “