Opinion Former Article

Call for class size limits

Teachers at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union in Birmingham have called for governments across the UK to apply and enforce maximum class size limits and for action to be taken against schools that fail to heed them.

Teachers believe that increasing class sizes are undermining pupils’ educational progress and adding to teachers’ already excessive workload.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Class sizes are increasing for a number of reasons, including cuts to teaching staff, the failure to recruit and retain teachers and demographic changes in pupil numbers for which governments and employers have failed to plan effectively.

“Pupils cannot receive their entitlement to high quality education when they are crammed into workspaces designed for much smaller groups of pupils or when teachers have no time or opportunity to provide pupils with the individual attention they need.

“In practical subjects, large class sizes can be dangerous to the health and safety of pupils or can result in certain activities such as practical experiments in science being cut in the interests of health and safety.

“There is some limited statutory regulation in place around class sizes but even this is inadequate and regulation and statutory provisions are meaningless unless they are enforced.

“The introduction of statutory class size limits would benefit both pupils and teachers and contribute to raising attainment among children and young people, an aim which all governments should support.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Sarah Cull 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham from 30 March to 2 April.

The full text of the motion is below:

Paul Spencer moved,
Mark Perry seconded:
“Conference asserts that all students have the right to learn in a safe environment and that teachers have the right to teach in conditions that do not impact adversely on their workload and physical and mental health.

Conference calls upon the National Executive to campaign for governments and administrations to impose legal maximum limits on class sizes and take action against schools that exceed class size limits.”

Sean Taylor moved,
Mandy Small seconded:

“Insert a last sentence to say ‘such limits to be agreed by a risk assessment of the classroom and pupils being taught’”

The amendment was      CARRIED

The motion, as amended, was    CARRIED

Sarah Cull
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6239 / 07920 711069

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