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Response to Caroline Bowker comments
The following is in response to a series of questions posed by the Guernsey Press following comments made by NASUWT secretary Caroline Bowker.
Mrs Bowker claimed that the Department set itself a target of no more than 24 pupils in one class. Is this case?
As previously advised, the Education Department has established a maximum primary class size of 30. Schools are expected not to exceed this without the agreement of the Department. Schools are expected to maintain an upper limit of 28 where possible.
Schools are advised to aim for classes of approximately 24 pupils. There is a misconception that the Board has fixed class sizes at 24. This has never been the case. All families are likely to have been aware that at times their children have been in classes of above 24.
Average class sizes in schools have remained extremely favourable, as highlighted in the Department's Annual Report.
Research shows that it is the quality of teaching that has the greatest impact on pupil progress and attainment rather than class size.
If so, in what circumstances will you go above the 24 limit and what impact would this have.
As previously advised, there is no 24 limit; the limit is 30, although this could be exceeded in extreme circumstances with the approval of the Education Department.
Mrs Bowker criticised the department for inadequate provision of teaching assistants. While every Reception class has a teacher and assistant, as the large class progresses through the school the assistant support is not available - what is your reaction to this? Is Mrs Bowker right in saying that not having a teaching assistant is detrimental to the children? Why?
The Education Department is currently reviewing the allocation of teaching assistants to schools to ensure it is a fair as possible within the resources it has.
Effective teaching assistants obviously add great value to the classroom. It is the quality of teaching that has the greatest impact on children.