Schools being 'creative' over class size, says Spielman

Ofsted's chief inspector says that reducing social distancing measures would lead to greater capacity in schools

Tes Reporter

Coronavirus: Schools are being creative over class sizes, says Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman

Schools are being "creative" when it comes to managing class sizes, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said today. 

Speaking this morning on Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Ms Spielman said: "A lot of schools are doing really creative things to help manage their class sizes. There are schools that are offering rotas – there are schools that are bringing children in one week on, one week off. There are all sorts of ways that people are making this work."

Speaking about the possibility of reducing the 2m social distancing guidelinesMs Spielman said that schools had been told there was a hierarchy of infection control, with handwashing placed higher than social distancing.

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She said: "Social distancing within the bubbles of the half-size classes is, according to the guidance, an aspiration, not an absolute requirement.

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"What's really important is that everybody works to the guidance as it stands, plans for the relaxations that are likely to come along in future.

"But, yes, obviously, a reduced distance expectation will flow through into greater capacity in schools, but what we need to get to is that plan for how we build capacity over time.

"Use relaxations as they come through but concentrate on the main objective, which should surely be to get as many children back into school as possible and as soon as possible."

Last week, headteachers said that the idea that reducing the 2m social distance rule would help schools take in more pupils was a "red herring".

The government should instead explore the potential to "commandeer" community spaces and invite qualified teachers to return to the profession in order to boost school capacity, according to the Association of School and College Leaders.

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