Large class sizes in York jump by 37%, ‘making life hell’ for teachers

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The number of York schoolchildren in outsized classes has increased by 37 per cent.

An education union claims the number of pupils in classes with more than 30 children has risen since 2010.

And the number of primary school pupils taught in classes of 36 children or more has gone up nearly 50 per cent in York.


The National Education Union says the increase means youngsters may not get enough attention at school and could “stop them reaching their full potential”.

York Outer has been named as one of 20 constituencies in the UK with the largest increases in class size.

‘We have lost great teachers’

Former North Yorkshire head teacher and former president of the National Union of Teachers, Anne Swift, said the increase has an impact on teachers – many of whom she says work more than 60 hours a week.

She said:

  • It’s making life hell for a lot of teachers.

    We already know that teachers in the UK work some of the longest hours.

    It only exacerbates that problem – if you have 37 children in a class that’s seven additional books to mark and a lot of schools expect same day marking now.

    We know that great swathes of teaching support assistants have been cut. Not only have teachers got more children in their classes, they have got less support.

Ms Swift said there’s also a reduction in the amount of support available – “especially for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

“Parents will be wondering how is my child going to get the attention they need when teachers have so many pupils to look after?”

Some teachers are not finishing work until 11pm, she said. “They barely see their own children. They may take Saturday off but then get back to working on a Sunday.

“You can understand why so many teachers leave.”

York Outer hit

Data from the union says that every state secondary school in York Outer saw an increase in class sizes between 2010 and 2019 – and four of the five secondary schools in York Central saw an increase.

The union says the number of primary school pupils in classes of 36 children or more has increased by 49 per cent since 2010.

The number of pupils in classes of more than 30 pupils in York has risen from 2,962 to 4,046 – a 37 per cent increase.

Nationally there has been a 29 per cent increase.

Michael Kearney, secretary of York National Education Union, said:

  • These figures show the terrible impact of Government cuts on education.

    Outsized classes mean that pupils do not receive enough individual attention and stop them reaching their full potential.

    The Government must fully reverse the funding cuts for schools in City of York.

Funding increases for York schools – announced by the Government in October – differ dramatically from school to school.

But the funding tables published revealed that some schools were set to win double-figure percentage increases in money per pupil – while others are due to receive an increase of less than two per cent.