Primary Education: Class Sizes

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd September 2020.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the cost of reducing average primary school class sizes from 27 to the European average of 20.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The majority of funding that schools receive comes from the schools block of the national funding formula (NFF). The NFF ensures that funding is based on schools’ and pupils’ needs and characteristics. Next year, every primary school is receiving at least £4,000 per pupil through the national minimum per pupil funding levels.

In 2020 the average primary class has remained stable at 27.0 pupils despite an increase of almost 800,000 pupils since 2010. The number of infant classes containing more than 30 pupils has decreased for the fifth year in a row.

We have not made an estimate of the cost of reducing the average primary school class size as this would require a wide range of assumptions, including how this would impact teachers’ non-contact time and the use of teaching assistants in schools. Any changes to school class structures in maintained schools would also have to adhere to the statutory regulations as set out in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.

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