What do Bigger Class Sizes Mean?

Sutton Council recently asked to increase class sizes, as reported in The Guardian


Whatever the driving factors behind this, the one thing that is interesting is how this story has been taken up: at some level, the subtext is that bigger classes are not as good as small ones.

No one seems to be able to point to a perfect size or a precise reason for this, but the intuitive response is that this will threaten school standards – i.e. kids won’t learn as well in bigger classes. It could be that bigger classes are seen to be more noisy, less manageable, more distracting and more difficult to learn in.

The overall implication is that bigger classes are worse places for teachers to communicate with their students than smaller classes.

Whether this is correct is not necessarily an easy calculation to make, but it underlines the huge interest in educational standards. It also suggests that communication in class is widely understood as a driver for results, and that class sizes – at some level – is a widely used proxy for classroom communication standards.

We’ve been addressing the issue of classroom communications for over 10 years at PC Werth and have more experience than anyone else in the UK. If you are concerned about communication and acoustic standards in your school, contact us.

Where would you rather sit? Red = background noise. Bigger class, more pupils, more noise = less communication?


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