Do smaller class sizes really make a difference?

Pupils outside

Many private schools and private nurseries promote small class sizes as a key benefit of private education. It is generally accepted that smaller classes equal a better level of education, but in this blog, we’ll dive into some more details on the benefits of small class sizes.

The teacher to student ratio

The quality of the teacher is a huge factor contributing to the success of any child in any classroom. The teacher is the leader and the quality of their teaching ability is the starting point for any measure of academic success.

Even if there are only 10 pupils in the class, if the teacher is unorganised, unenthusiastic and does not inspire their pupils, the class size will have no effect on the overall level of performance. Likewise, if you have a fantastic teacher, full of passion, knowledge and who genuinely wants to see their pupils thrive, yes, even in a class of 30+, the pupils in that classroom will learn. However, in a large class, there are far more obstacles. The teacher has to answer many more questions, there won’t be enough time to check on every pupil’s independent progress and with more children comes more distractions for the rest of the class.

Every child is different

This is something to always remember when discussing any broad topics regarding education. Some children are able to happily work independently and are able to avoid distractions from classmates, whereas others may need a much more focussed, direct and personalised education. In these situations, a smaller classroom environment could have a significantly positive effect on that child’s potential for learning.

Range of ability in the classroom

If there is a wider range of abilities in the class it does make delivery of a more focussed approach to education more difficult. In a smaller class with a more equal range of ability, the teacher can tailor the content of the lesson to the capabilities of their pupils. Equally, with more focussed attention on each topic, the curriculum can be delivered in-depth – and at the right pace – to really embed the learning.

It is very easy to get caught up in the figures and to look at examples from around the world regarding class numbers and academic achievement. Of course the subject being taught in a lesson is important, however, there are many other lessons that are taught in the classroom in which class size does have an impact on. Relationships between pupils, discipline and provisions for those students with special educational needs are also factors to consider. A child with special educational needs requires extra support and guidance, in a large class, this can be a challenge.

So whilst smaller classes do provide a more focused and personal educational experience, the quality of the teaching is equally as vital and cannot be overlooked.

At Polam School in Bedfordshire, an independent nursery and primary school, we pride ourselves on not only having small class sizes, but in working with the most dedicated and passionate teaching staff who truly want to dedicate their time to the success, growth and development of each child in their care, not only as a pupil, but as a young member of society.

If you would like to learn more about our school, you can request a prospectus here or better still, see the school in action and visit us at an open day, enquiries can be made here.

01234 261864