Is there a class size limit in schools?


You could have over 30 pupils in your class and wonder if there is a legal limit to class size at your school. You might have also read the following BBC article which highlighted a primary school in Devon with a year 6 class of 63 pupils.

There is currently no class size limit on classes at Key Stage 2 (KS2) and above in England and Wales. However, there is a statutory class size limit of infant classes for KS1 pupils.

In this article, we look at more details on class size limits in infant classes, what you should do if you are concerned with the number of pupils in your class and health and safety information.

What are the class size limits in infant schools?

According to the Department for Education (DfE’s) School Admission Code and the School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 2012 infant classes must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher. Maintained schools are required to abide by these regulations.

Academies’ funding agreements require them to adhere to the School Admissions Code, which includes the limit on infant class sizes.

Infant classes are defined as those where the majority of children will reach the age of 5, 6 or 7 during the school year. Additional children may be admitted under limited ‘exceptional’ circumstances.

These children will remain an ‘excepted pupil’ for the time they are in an infant class or until the class numbers fall back to the current infant class size limit. The excepted children are:

  • Children admitted outside the normal admissions round with statements of special education needs (SEN) or Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) specifying a school
  • Looked after children and previously looked after children admitted outside the normal admissions round
  • Children admitted, after initial allocation of places, because of a procedural error made by the admission authority of local authority in the original application process
  • Children admitted after an independent appeals panel upholds an appeal
  • Children who move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is no other available school within reasonable distance
  • Children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round
  • Children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted otherwise than as an expected pupil
  • Children with SEN who are normally taught in a special educational needs unit, attached to the school, or registered at a special school who attend some infant classes within the mainstream school

What should I do if I am concerned with my class size?

If you believe that there is a risk to health and safety in your classroom because there are too many pupils you will want to raise your concern informally with your line manager or headteacher at first.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 explains that all workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is down to employers.

If you need support with talking to your school about this issue you can contact us for further advice.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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