We are not building robots

Primary education is about children’s learning and development. There has been a sense in government that children can all learn the same thing at the same time. That grouping children by age in classes of 30 plus will reap dividends. As anyone in education will tell you smaller classes would allow more understanding of individual needs to develop, better relationships to grow and more children to succeed. All the money the government is pouring into 1:1 tutoring would be better spent on reducing class size. As long as we continue to operate in such large groups the silent majority will remain unheard.

Most teachers would argue that the reduced class sizes in foundation and key stage 1 (to a maximum of 30) could do with being reduced further. Some say the gains made by the current reduction are quickly lost as children move into larger junior classes. Primary education is about so much more than a narrow set of results and statistical data, it is about quality relationships, pastoral support and genuine understanding of children, their social, emotional and physical needs as well as their academic ones. Morally we know that class sizes have a huge impact on all of this but it is a costly undertaking to move to what we know is right.


About smichael920

Headteacher of a large primary school in North West England. Helping me to blur the distinction between work and home, I am also father of five, covering most phases of education thus giving me the lowdown from within and without. Education is about enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow. This can't be done using the tools of the past. View all posts by smichael920

4 responses to “We are not building robots

  • Neil Hopkin

    Couldn’t agree more Michael. So much wasted money, so little time…

  • Kim

    I completely agree.
    In a world where many parents have moved away from the daily and frequent support of the extended family in favor of the nuclear family, schools need to step in and fill the social and emotional needs of young children. Children need a sense of belongingness that occurs with smaller class size..and smaller school size. Maslow’s 3rd level of needs “Love and belonging”.

    • smichael920

      Thanks for the feedback Kim. As you say, with the deterioration of the traditional family unit, where many lessons were subconsciously learnt, it is important to ensure children grow up with people around them to support their needs. Too many get left behind in the larger classes that are dictated (we are told) by financial necessity.

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