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Does size matter in infant classes?

16 July 2013

The shortage of capacity in primary schools has been highlighted as the number of pupils taught in infant classes of above 30 children to one teacher has doubled to 72,000 since 2010 and that there could be a shortfall of 120,000 places in September 2013.

Whilst arguments rage over who is to blame and whether education reforms such as free schools and local authority cuts are making it worse, it appears to be forgotten why the infant class size duty was given statutory force in 1999 and the importance of primary education in preparing children for learning in the longer term.

One potential short term fix may be 'part time' education for 4 year olds which may be possible under the School Admissions Code 2012 as the requirement for full time education, set out in the previous Admissions Code, appears to have been omitted. Such a move would be controversial and subject to legal challenge but could give some breathing space in order to build capacity within the primary sector.

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