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Three-quarters of teachers say their class sizes are getting bigger and the overwhelming majority believe the sizes of their classes are having a negative impact on pupils’ progress, attainment and behaviour.

A survey of over 3,000 teachers by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union found that 91% believe their class sizes are having a negative impact on pupils’ progress and attainment and 90% feel they are having a negative impact on pupil behaviour.

95% say class sizes are having a negative impact on their ability to meet the needs of all pupils and 78% feel class sizes are having a negative impact on the adequate provision of learning resources for pupils.

Of the 75% who said their class sizes have increased, 37% said they had increased significantly.

The survey findings are being released as representatives at the NASUWT’s Annual Conference in Birmingham prepare to debate a motion today calling for governments and administrations across the UK to introduce maximum class sizes in all key stages.

When asked what factors had influenced the size of their classes, over two-thirds (67%) cited an increase in the number of pupils on roll, 40% said cuts to staff numbers and a further 40% said budget cuts or financial pressures.

Only 21% of teachers said the size of their classroom or teaching area was always adequate for the subjects they teach.

Over two-thirds (67%) think the size of their classroom has had an impact on increasing transmission of Covid-19 among their pupils.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Increases in class size numbers are having a detrimental impact on both the learning experiences of pupils and the health and safety of teachers and students.

“Large class sizes are also contributing to increased teacher workloads, reducing teachers’ ability to provide pupils with the individual support they need.

“The damaging impact of increased pupil numbers in classes has been further exposed during the pandemic, creating the perfect conditions for the transmission of Covid-19.

“This situation once again exposes the failure of government oversight over the last decade in relation to pupil place planning or in guaranteeing the additional investment needed to increase teacher numbers.

“Children and their teachers deserve better.”


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