Primary Education: Class Sizes

Education and Skills written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Laws David Laws Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of pupils of primary school age in England are in classes in maintained schools of (a) fewer than 20, (b) 20 to 24, (c) 25 to 28, (d) 29 to 30, (e) 31 to 35, (f) 36 to 40 and (g) greater than 40; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), Department for Education and Skills, Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Schools and 14-19 Learners)

The available information is given in the table.

Maintained primary schools( 1) : Classes taught by one teacher( 2) —as at January 2006—England
Classes taught by one teacher
Key Stage 1 classes( 3) Key Stage 2 classes Classes in maintained primary schools
Classes of size: Number of pupils Percentage of pupils Number of pupils Percentage of pupils Number of pupils Percentage of pupils
Less than 20 pupils 88,350 6.3 59,880 3.0 199,290 5.3
20 to 24 pupils 278,030 19.9 264,390 13.4 632,960 16.8
25 to 28 pupils 453,150 32.5 578,600 29.4 1,163,740 30.8
29 to 30 pupils 546,560 39.2 588,050 29.9 1,204,590 31.9
31 to 35 pupils 26,930 1.9 450,570 22.9 522,270 13.8
36 to 40 pupils 790 0.1 26,210 1.3 42,410 1.1
Greater than 40 pupils 360 0.0 710 0.0 8,680 0.2
Total 1,394,160 100.0 1,968,400 100.0 3,773,930 100.0
(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.

(2) Classes as taught during a single selected period on the day of the census in January.

(3) Includes reception classes.


Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.


School Census

Some 10.6 per cent. of pupils in large classes in maintained primary schools were engaged in activities such as PE or games or music, singing and drama.

Decisions about class sizes post Key Stage 1 are a matter for schools, and there are a number of factors that will influence this. Schools are best placed to know what works well for them and is in pupils' best interests. Instances of large classes may well be because schools are being more imaginative about how they organise lessons, making the best use of all school staff. In some subjects having a larger class with an experienced teacher supported by one or more trained teaching assistants can offer real advantages to pupils, enhancing rather than hindering their learning.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.