Head teacher super-sizes school classes

After successful trials on years three and four, Norfolk school rolls out giant classes scheme across rest of school

Headteacher Mr. Starling said that bigger classes improves the progress of the younger children © PAA head teacher who two years ago revealed he had grouped the youngest pupils of his school into a class of 70 has now decided to teach the entire school in the same way.

John Starling, head teacher at Bure Valley Junior School in Aylsham, Norfolk, grouped his year three children into a class of 70 and his year four children into a class of 60.

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These classes have two teachers and two teaching assistants on hand - with the year three class also having an extra teacher to help.

The pupils' books are piled high in the classroom © PAStarling said today that the scheme was a success, and he is now grouping the older years in a similar way.

"I have no regrets at all. Big classes are working," said Starling, 50, who has been teaching since the early 1980s.

"I think we will have four classes of 70 eventually."

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It is thought the classes at Bure Valley are the biggest in the country – but Starling says the ‘super-size’ experiment has worked for years three and four, with children showing better progress in core subjects.

He says the staff can work more closely with the children and teachers benefit from having extra staff on hand to help in the classroom, too.

Since Starling introduced the ‘super-size’ classes, the school has received positive Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspections. In November 2010, the school was rated ‘good’  with some areas ‘outstanding.’

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The report said the way the classroom sizes had been ‘super-sized’ had been "instrumental" in improving the quality of education.

Pupils form an orderly queue before their lesson starts © PA

Would you be happy to see your child taught in ‘super-sized’ classroom?