Class at south-west London secondary school ‘had 181 pupils’

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Evening Standard

A class at a secondary school in south-west London had more than 181 pupils, new data has revealed, Evening Standard reports.

A freedom of information request submitted by The Sunday Times found that children across the country were being taught in classes with more than 100 pupils.

The biggest class had 181 pupils and was in Sutton. Two other classes in Sefton, Merseyside and Suffolk had more than 100 pupils.

A Department for Education spokesman said it had spoken to the three schools and that the figures related to PE lesson and choir practice where it is not uncommon for classes to be taught together.

The spokesman said schools’ pupil-to-teacher ratios remained well below the national average.

The figures were collected by counting the number of children in each class on a specific day in January.

Ten classes had 70 or more children, while 52 classes had 50-plus pupils. The biggest primary school classes had between 40 and 60 pupils.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner told the newspaper the data had proved that Tory cuts had led to larger class sizes.

Thirty pupils to one teacher is the legal limit for infant classes which are for the very youngest pupils under rules brought in by Labour.

A headteacher at a school in Salford Drew Povey admitted to the Sunday Times that he had once taught 150 children in a class and that he believed class sizes would “balloon” over the next few years because of funding cuts.

The Department for Education said: “We have spoken to the three schools with the largest class sizes. These figures relate to PE lessons and choir practice where it is not uncommon for classes to be taught together. The schools’ pupil-to-teacher ratios remain well below the national average. We also expect this is the case for many of the other schools reporting larger classes in this data.

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“We have invested £5.8bn in the school estate, creating 735,000 places since 2010, and despite rising pupil numbers, the average class size has not changed. In fact, less than 1 per cent of primary school pupils are taught in classes of 36 or more, less than in 2010.”

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