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Size of relief

I read with great relief Clare Dean's article "GM pupils excel despite larger classes" (TES, October 27). Here we have research proving that children do better in small classes. So keen are the Government and Chris Woodhead to disprove what parents, teachers and governors know to be true - that large classes disadvantage pupils - that they have scored an "own goal".

This research into classes in GM schools is comparing numbers in the range 17.1 to 26.3 pupils per teacher. These are the small classes for which the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and other professional associations are campaigning.

"Large classes" in schools up and down the country, especially in the primary sector, mean more than 31 pupils squashed into a room with too few desks, too few books and a teacher with too little time to give attention to all children.

The Government's own figures show that the number of primary school pupils being taught in classes of 40 or more has risen by almost a third since last year. This is the "large class" that worries parents, appals teachers, disadvantages our children but satisfies the Government.


Wiltshire branch ATL secretary Whites Cottage High Street Damerham Fordingbridge Hants

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