Latest figures from the Department for Education have revealed that the average number of infant pupils per class has more than doubled in the last four years.
According to the current law, 30 is the maximum number of pupils per infant class allowed in England; although this limit has been legally expanded in special exceptions in recent years.
Official data published by the Department for Education has shown that the number of over-sized classes is now more than 1,500, up from 724 in 2008. This is more than double that of just four years ago. In 2008, the number of over-sized classes stood at 724.
In 2011, the number of over-seized infant classes was 1,370, meaning that the average has gone up 2.7% in less than a year.
Average pupils per UK regions
Further figures pointed out that 27 is the current average of children per class in infant and junior classes in England’s primary schools, with this average dropping down to 20 in the state-funded secondary schools.
The average number in Scottish infant schools stands at 22, while in primary classes there are 23 children per class on average.
Earlier this year, the UK government estimated that up to 450,000 new places would be needed in England by 2015 to avoid the current speed of over-sizing. According to the report, the English areas suffering the worst shortages are London and Birmingham.
‘We are more than doubling targeted investment at areas facing the greatest pressure on numbers – to over £4 billion in the next four years,’ said a spokeswoman from the Department for Education.
‘We are also building Free Schools and letting the most popular schools expand to meet demand from parents and we are intervening to drive up standards in weak primaries across the country which have thousands of empty places simply because parents don’t want to send their children to them.’