Two-thirds of secondary schools increasing class sizes

Analysis by a number of education unions has warned that two-thirds of secondary schools in England have increased the size of their classes in the past two years.

Studying official Department for Education figures, the analysis suggests that the five areas with the fullest classes have all seen increases between 2014-15 and 2016-17, with secondary classes seeing an average rise of three more students per class in areas such as York. In total, 62 per cent of state secondary schools had larger classes last year than two years before.

The unions claim that full classes in Barnsley, Rutland, Thurrock, Newham and Leicester highlight how the government are failing in their stated aim to even out the differences in education.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The government's own figures show that an extra 654,000 school places will be needed in England by 2026, to meet the nine per cent rise in pupil population. 91 per cent of schools face real-terms budget cuts compared to 2015-16 at a time when costs are rising and pupil numbers are growing."