chapter  6
Is it true that class size does not matter? A critical review of research on class size effects
Pages 13

The debate over class size is one of the most common and public, and is regularly covered in the media. In September 2014, there was a lengthy debate in the UK Parliament with the opposition spokesperson, Tristram Hunt, accusing the Conservative-led government of presiding over a massive increase in class sizes over 30. This was contrasted with the policy of the previous Labour administration in which class sizes over 30 in England and Wales were outlawed. Connected to this, The Times (27 August 2014) carried the headline ‘Thousands of pupils crammed into “cattle classes”’ and referred to government figures which showed that one in eight primary school children are taught in classes with more than 30 pupils. The piece also referred to a survey of 2,000 parents, some of whom thought too many children were being squeezed into classrooms, with a negative impact on one-to-one attention. This debate about class size took place against a backdrop of major demographic changes, especially in the major cities of the UK, with a growing school aged population, and pressures on local authorities to find more places in school.