Class sizes are growing and subjects are being scrapped due to funding crisis, survey suggests

Falling staff numbers as a result of education funding cuts has made some schools increase class sizes, a poll shows.

According to a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), 80 per cent of respondents have had to make their class sizes bigger over the last 12 months.

Of 1,054 respondents, 129 said that their class size was at 35 pupils or more as a result of cutting staff numbers and reorganising classes among fewer teachers.

The poll also found that larger classes are more difficult to manage and “mean an increased workload on teaching staff, as well as making it harder to provide feedback and support to pupils”.

In addition to this, 72 per cent of respondents who teach Key Stage 4 said that courses have had to be removed from their GCSE options or vocational subjects. While 79 per cent who teach Key Stage 5 said courses have had to be removed from A Level options.

Ninety-five per cent said support services have had to be cut back with 58 per cent stating that special needs support has been affected. Fifty per cent also said that mental health support was affected as a result of reduced budgets.

Respondents also claimed that class sizes are expected to rise further in the next 12 months and cuts will have to be made to support services, enrichment activities and course options.

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary for ASCL, said: “The survey shows the impossible choices school leaders are having to make. Reduced budgets means fewer staff and, with fewer staff, class sizes have to increase.

“Schools cannot sustain the level of support they provide to pupils or the range of subject options and enrichment activities.

“Unless the government invests more in the education system, there will be a significant impact on the lives and life chances of young people.”

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