Experts say class size has little impact

July 7th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

’s proposal to reduce class sizes at schools has failed to win a universal gold star, with experts saying the small cuts without improving teaching would do little to raise the bar of student achievement.

Associate Professor John O’Neill, of Massey University’s Institute of , said the Labour Party’s proposal to cut school class sizes if elected in September would not achieve much without changes to teaching itself.

At the Labour election-year congress yesterday, leader David Cunliffe announced the party would fund an extra 2000 teachers, which would see primary and secondary school classes shrink by an average of three students by 2018.

But O’Neill said recent research suggested making classes slightly larger or smaller did not greatly alter the achievement levels for average students.

Indeed. Here’s a list of the 105 things which have been found to have a larger impact on student achievement than .

  1. Self-reported grades
  2. Piagetian programs
  3. Providing formative evaluation
  4. Micro teaching
  5. Acceleration
  6. Classroom behavioral
  7. Comprehensive interventions for learning disabled students
  8. Teacher clarity
  9. Reciprocal teaching
  10. Feedback
  11. Teacher-Student relationships
  12. Spaced vs. Mass Practice
  13. Meta-cognitive strategies
  14. Prior achievement
  15. Vocabulary programs
  16. Repeated Reading programs
  17. Creativity Programs
  18. Self-verbalization & Self-questioning
  19. Professional development
  20. Problem solving teaching
  21. Not labeling students
  22. Teaching strategies
  23. Cooperative vs. individualistic learning
  24. Study skills
  25. Direct Instruction
  26. Tactile stimulation programs
  27. Phonics instruction
  28. Comprehension programs
  29. Mastery learning
  30. Worked examples
  31. Home environment
  32. Socioeconomic status
  33. Concept mapping
  34. Challenging Goals
  35. Visual-Perception programs
  36. Peer tutoring
  37. Cooperative vs. competitive learning
  38. Pre-term birth weight
  39. Classroom cohesion
  40. Keller’s PIS
  41. Peer influences
  42. Classroom management
  43. Outdoor/Adventure Programs
  44. Interactive video method
  45. Parental Involvement
  46. Play Programs
  47. Second/Third chance programs
  48. Small group learning
  49. Concentration/Persistence/Engagement
  50. missing
  51. Motivation
  52. Early Intervention
  53. Questioning
  54. Pre school programs
  55. Quality of Teaching
  56. Writing Programs
  57. Expectations
  58. School size
  59. Self-concept
  60. Mathematics programs
  61. Behavioral organizers/Adjunct questions
  62. missing
  63. Cooperative learning
  64. Science
  65. Social skills programs
  66. Reducing anxiety
  67. Integrated Curricula Programs
  68. Enrichment
  69. Career Interventions
  70. Time on Task
  71. Computer assisted instruction
  72. Adjunct aids
  73. Bilingual Programs
  74. Principals/School leaders
  75. Attitude to Mathematics/Science
  76. Exposure to Reading
  77. Drama/Arts Programs
  78. Creativity
  79. Frequent/Effects of testing
  80. Decreasing disruptive behavior
  81. Drugs
  82. Simulations
  83. Inductive teaching
  84. Ethnicity
  85. Teacher effects
  86. Inquiry based teaching
  87. Ability grouping for gifted students
  88. Homework
  89. Home visiting
  90. Exercise/Relaxation programs
  91. Desegregation
  92. Mainstreaming
  93. Teaching test taking & coaching
  94. Use of calculators
  95. Values/Moral Education Programs
  96. Competitive vs. individualistic learning
  97. Special College Programs
  98. Programmed instruction
  99. Summer school
  100. Finances
  101. Illness (Lack of)
  102. Religious Schools
  103. Individualised instruction
  104. Visual/Audio-visual methods
  105. Comprehensive Teaching Reforms
  106. Class size

Now remember this doesn’t come from one study. This is a from a meta-analysis of 50,000 different studies. There have been 96 studies just on class size, and they have found the impact on learning is quite minor.

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59 Responses to “Experts say class size has little impact”

  1. Liam Hehir (103 comments) says:

    I support Labour’s policy but only in my capacity as the husband of a primary school teacher who will be looking to re-enter the profession sometime after 2017.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    Why not include 107, DPF?

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  3. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    Why not include 107, DPF?

    Ha!

    107. Charter Schools

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  4. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    I call bullshit on:

    announced the party would fund an extra 2000 teachers, which would see primary and secondary school classes shrink by an average of three students by 2018

    Apologies for the cross-post, but I just recently wrote on another thread here that:

    So “smaller class-sizes” is the answer apparently. My kids go to a local state primary school. Probably average sized, perhaps a little smaller than average. Effectively the school has two class-rooms for each of years 1 through 6, dropping to one class-room for each Year level at years 7 and 8 when the private schools start to calve off quite a few of the kids.

    Pragmatically, delivering smaller class sizes would require either:
    Option A … moving to three class-rooms at each of years 1 through 6, and two class-rooms for years 7 and 8, or
    Option B … moving to five class-rooms across two Year levels for years 1 through 6 and three class-rooms across years 7 and 8, with more blended classes.

    Option A would require an extra 8 teachers and an extra 8 class-rooms. Option B would require an extra 4 teachers and an extra 4 class-rooms.

    Meanwhile Labour’s going to recruit another 2,000 teachers, who will be spread across the 2,300-ish schools around New Zealand. So less than 1 extra teacher per school.

    And there is neither the land, or probably the funding, to provide the extra class-rooms.

    Frankly, the quality of education policy would improve immensely in New Zealand if we sent the Labour Party politicians back to remedial maths classes.

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  5. Other_Andy (2,297 comments) says:

    Where is the ranking for schools with netbooks/ laptops for all students?

    Labour policy: Subsidised netbook/ laptop for all students: $120 million

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  6. MikeG (394 comments) says:

    What are the class sizes virtualmark? Without that information your example is meaningless.

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  7. alwyn (380 comments) says:

    Does anyone happen to know what sort of school Cunliffe’s sons go to?
    I’m just curious whether it is a state school, and what decile it is, or does he send them to private schools.

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  8. dime (9,435 comments) says:

    Dime has one question…

    Do we really have 2000 empty classrooms at the moment? Wtf?

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  9. David Farrar (1,855 comments) says:

    I’m doing a separate post on No 107. Basically the research shows class size reductions are as effective as charter schools (both mildly positive). So why is Labour vowing to abolish one, and put all their eggs in the other?

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  10. JMS (299 comments) says:

    I’ve got study fatigue, even if some of them are roughly accurate.

    Just introduce a voucher system and let the market decide.

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  11. MikeG (394 comments) says:

    So if we look near the top of the list:
    4. Micro teaching
    11. Teacher – Student relationships
    25. Direct Instruction

    Those 3, and probably more, stand a better chance of happening if there were smaller classes.

    Why do private schools boast about having smaller class sizes?

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  12. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    MikeG … my kids have around 28-30 kids in their classes. That seems pretty “normal” at that school, it’s pretty consistently been the case through all their time there.

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  13. Pete George (22,849 comments) says:

    Why do private schools boast about having smaller class sizes?

    Because class size is easy to quantify and parents have a perception that smaller class sizes will give more teacher attention to their child/children.

    If I’d been able to choose which classes I was in I’d have decided far more on teacher than on class size.

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  14. Manolo (13,372 comments) says:

    What is Internet – Mana’s policy on class size?

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  15. dime (9,435 comments) says:

    “Why do private schools boast about having smaller class sizes?”

    because parents are conditioned by the shit bag unions that small classes are the answer. its also easy marketing.

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  16. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    I’m doing a separate post on No 107. Basically the research shows class size reductions are as effective as charter schools (both mildly positive). So why is Labour vowing to abolish one, and put all their eggs in the other?

    Because parents really, really want lower class sizes? I’m just guessing.

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  17. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    MikeG,

    Why do private schools boast about having smaller class sizes?

    I suspect it’s partly spinning a negative into a positive. The private schools we’ve looked at for our kids all have smaller class sizes, of around 20-25 kids per class. But it’s also crystal clear that they’d love to get more kids in the school … and hence more fees one presumes. I suspect that if, say, they had a class with 20 kids and 8 sets of parents turned up all wanting to get their kids into that class then the school wouldn’t turn any parents away …

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  18. Other_Andy (2,297 comments) says:

    “Why do private schools boast about having smaller class sizes?”

    Because parents think it makes a difference.
    (It does up to a certain number)
    The same with the use of computers in classes.

    Perception is everything……
    It is not important what is true, it is important what people believe is true.

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  19. MikeG (394 comments) says:

    you can’t have it both ways Farrar – you’ve been preaching that Charter Schools are the answer. Now that Labour suggest smaller class sizes you say that it’s an appalling policy (“but this aspect is basically appalling.” from the post yesterday), even though the effectiveness is similar to Charter schools.

    [DPF: Read what I said. I said that reducing class sizes is fine, but not if you do it by getting rid of the funding for improving teacher quality]

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  20. Yogibear (295 comments) says:

    So basically how many pies my wife ate prior to giving birth is more important than the ratio of unionists to students.

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  21. SW (219 comments) says:

    Where is performance pay on the list?

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  22. mikemikemikemike (312 comments) says:

    So JK (a pretty sharp guy) saying he put his kids in Private school because of small class sizes and better resources is now bullshit?

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  23. MikeG (394 comments) says:

    Dime “because parents are conditioned by the shit bag unions that small classes are the answer.”

    hahahahaha – so those free thinking parents who send their kids to private schools have been brain-washed by those terrible union people… go figure

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  24. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Until unionised socialist-dominated losers, calling themselves teachers, are culled from the profession, they will command no respect from either students or parents. For far too long they have been attempting to enforce their foul doctrine upon the youngsters of our society, in the belief they know best. It is merely a continuation of the evil social engineering brought to the fore by Clark and her contemporary Simpson. We now have the option of Charter Schools and the unions and their Labour lackeys are really upset . . . Good!

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  25. Pete George (22,849 comments) says:

    I did most of my schooling in a rural area where (some) better off families sent their kids to much bigger schools with bigger class sizes.

    I suspect snobbery was a significant factor in some cases.

    I did upgrade my education for my sixth form, from a four person class to a twenty four person class where the education was deemed to be much better.

    If class size is so important why don’t all good parents home school their kids.

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  26. dime (9,435 comments) says:

    “hahahahaha – so those free thinking parents who send their kids to private schools have been brain-washed by those terrible union people… go figure”

    less so nowadays. they have seen the disgraceful behaviour of the selfish unions over the last 6 years. they have lost all credibility.

    its still good marketing – highlight the point of difference.

    personally, when i send my kids to private school the class size wont bother me. ill just be happy to get away from losers like yourself

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  27. Yogibear (295 comments) says:

    Two issues that are confused: Class size vs staff to student ratio. They are not the same thing.

    Labour are making class size an end in itself and that is plain wrong.

    What is right is what the staff to student ratio enables, and by my count, around 60 of the 105 measures are enhanced with an improved ratio, which is the focus of private schools.

    The point of the Treasury paper is class size as a deteministic input is crap, yet that is the Labour policy

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  28. dime (9,435 comments) says:

    “If class size is so important why don’t all good parents home school their kids.” – usually cause they have to work nowadays. they would also have to keep paying to educate everyone elses kids through high taxation.

    Is it actually legal for say, 10 parents to get together and employ a teacher to teach their little group?

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  29. itstricky (1,563 comments) says:

    you can’t have it both ways Farrar – you’ve been preaching that Charter Schools are the answer. Now that Labour suggest smaller class sizes you say that it’s an appalling policy (“but this aspect is basically appalling.” from the post yesterday), even though the effectiveness is similar to Charter schools

    Indeed that was a veeerrrryyyyy revealing (and probably unintended now that he’s realised) post by our host. (A). Charter schools are mildly positive at No. 107 (remember that phrase next time he’s harping about them, and how much they cost) and (B) how could you possibly trumpet one and degrade the other – IF your words were alturisitc?

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  30. lazza (358 comments) says:

    Now that’s some list Slim Dave.

    But Labour’s vote trawling exercise was never about the kids and class numbers.

    As usual, their solution is just designed to suit their ragtag Teacher’s Union sychophants.

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  31. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Number 50 and number 62 are the same.

    Where are the 2000 new classrooms coming from in Labourland? Presumably they’ll be dumping prefabs on to the edges of sport fields all over the country. Say $100k a pop, and you’re looking at $200m worth of prefabs. Who makes them, and are they looking for investment cash?

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  32. kiwigunner (213 comments) says:

    This is the same John O’Neil who said this two years ago.

    “O’Neill says that Professor John Hattie’s comments about class size being ‘less important’ have been misinterpreted by the Treasury.

    There is some background to consider here. Hattie’s book Visible Learnings gives class size a small effect on student achievement; however, a counter-publication, Invisible Learnings? A commentary on John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement’ by a number of Massey University academics, including O’Neill, looks at how Hattie’s findings have perhaps been taken out of context by others.

    “Hattie has been cited as ‘finding’ that class size is not important and this has excited the attention of those concerned about financing of schools, who conclude they can economise on class size,” the Massey text reads. “Hattie recognises that ‘class size’ cannot usefully be considered in isolation from other potentially important, pedagogically related variables. Reducing class size may have only a small effect when considered in isolation but that’s not the issue. What matters is that reducing class size permits the teacher (and children) to do things differently.”

    As suggested here, there is certainly much research available on the benefits of small class sizes. Classes with low student to teacher ratios are said to improve attendance, test results, monitoring of student progress and engagement in learning. Bullying and vandalism are less likely to occur in schools with smaller classes. Teachers are more likely to be engaged in professional development and school reforms.

    One of the most important benefits of small class size is that teachers are likely to pick up earlier that a student is struggling. O’Neill notes that New Zealand early literacy research in south Auckland schools show that learners with poorly developed literacy need smaller classes in the early years in order to have the support they need to become confident readers”.

    And as stated by MikeG above almost all of the Hatties list is enhanced by smaller class sizes. I mostly like 105 which is what, to some extent, National are proposing, and that Quality of teaching is number 55.

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  33. doggone7 (699 comments) says:

    6 Classroom behavioral
    31 Home environment
    32 Socioeconomic status
    58 School size
    81 Drugs

    A kid is in a class where there are several pupils with extreme behaviour problems. He lives in the poor part of town, his father is in jail for beating his mother and his five brothers and sisters and he has been flirting with dope with his mates. He is in the wrong sized school. It’s not important that there are less kids in the class so there is more chance of the teacher interacting positively with him, that’s way down the list. The academics say so, And of course they’ve been vociferously backed up by those who send their kids to Kings College

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  34. lazza (358 comments) says:

    “A kid is in a class where there are several pupils with extreme behaviour problems. He lives in the poor part of town, his father is in jail for beating his mother and his five brothers and sisters and he has been flirting with dope with his mates. He is in the wrong sized school”

    Yep … Sounds like Kings College.

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  35. kiwigunner (213 comments) says:

    Anyway Hattie’s meta analysis has largely been discredited now because some of the list noted above have been graded on tiny and irrelevant data not really robust enough to make any sort of proper claims from. Peter Blatchford in London has done studies too – in short he suggests small classes are better for children, in particular those with extra needs and for teacher quality for example they allow teachers time for professional development.

    take a look if you want at http://www.classsizeresearch.org.uk/cs%20psychology.pdf

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  36. Rightandleft (636 comments) says:

    The main problem I see with Labour’s policy is that it will only decrease the ratio by 2 students. In secondary schools that might mean one or two extra teachers, who will be probably be used to keep less popular subjects going. That’s fine, but I doubt most teachers will actually see much reduction in class sizes based on this policy. It may have slightly more impact in primary. So while it is a step in the right direction, because as others have pointed out many of the higher things on that list are helped by having smaller classes, it isn’t a big enough reduction to warrant scrapping IES to pay for it.

    As for no. 107 on the list, charter schools, we already have a version of charter schooling right now, called Tomorrow’s Schools. So what Labour is rejecting is a more radical version of charter schooling, Partnership Schools, in favour of the version we already know.

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  37. doggone7 (699 comments) says:

    I’m disgusted that the Labour party is concentrating its attention on number 106 and not number 38! This surely proves their lack of seriousness.

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  38. unaha-closp (1,112 comments) says:

    When do students start reporting their own grades?

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  39. Bill Courtney (143 comments) says:

    I wonder how many of these influences / practices etc. could be identified or written up in a neat summary by David Farrar!

    The absurdity of this narrow approach to interpreting John Hattie’s list was written about extensively back in 2009, when it was first published. The list may have some uses for educators but unless you understand the quality and context of the underlying studies then many of these “findings” are of little use for practical policy making. Why is the much vaunted “Quality of Teaching” no higher than no. 55 for example?

    Also, I endorse many of the comments above that reducing class size makes it easier for teachers to implement many of the techniques described in this list, especially increasing the amount and quality of feedback to students.

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  40. itstricky (1,563 comments) says:

    [DPF: Read what I said. I said that reducing class sizes is fine, but not if you do it by getting rid of the funding for improving teacher quality]

    I don’t know if MikeG did, but I did. And you said this (complete with typo) :

    A presentation by Professor Hattie here, find’s class size is ranked only the 106th most powerful influence on learning. That’s 106th out of 130. Labour are putting Now this is not his personal view. This is a summary of 50,000 individual studies and 800+ meta-studies.

    So, new question. Why are National focusing on No. 107 (note that this is a summary of 50, 000 I dividual studies and 800+ meta-studies) when they could be focusing on No. 15, 16 and 17?

    Incidentally, I’m sure the anti-PC personal responsibility brigade just love No. 21…

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  41. anrkyal (1 comment) says:

    As usual would not expect many of the blue cordial drinkers on here to have actually read Hattie let alone attend his supporting lectures. Its important to understand that each of these ranked factors are rated on their impact as a single STANDALONE factor. The real benefit of smaller class sizes comes from its ability to enable and better support those factors which on there own are said to have standalone high impact/benefits
    Take # 3 Formative Assessment; this is time consuming in and of itself but also requires plenty of time so # 10 Feedback and # 11 Teacher-Student relationships can occur and be fostered to feed into # 3. These factors have interrelationships and need to be put together to make the whole. Oh and by the way a meta-analysis no matter how big, is no guarantee the rankings have the meaning they do, by their virtue meta-analyses have v. little idea as to the validity and quality of the underlying research being bound up.

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  42. Disaster Area (36 comments) says:

    The concept of Charter Schools can be argued for years. It is clear that a well run State school is just as good as a well run Charter School. It is clear from overseas that not all Charter Schools succeed, just as there are failing state schools.

    The question I would like to ask is how many people on here had even heard of them before the Supply and Confidence agreement with Act? Am I correct in thinking that they were not in National’s pre election policy?

    I’d be genuinely interested to know the history of all this.

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  43. Harriet (4,521 comments) says:

    “…….Indeed. Here’s a list of the 105 things which have been found to have a larger impact on student achievement than class size……”

    LOL…….”……74.Principals/School leaders….”

    Doesn’t DPF support extra funding – to the tune of 10′s of thousands of dollars each – for good principals/leaders to inspire principals/leaders in other schools?

    Yes he did say he agreed with that.

    Well if these people are ranked way down at 74 – then WTF is National spending all this money on them for – and why would DPF so readily agree? …..74?????? DPF!

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  44. slijmbal (1,211 comments) says:

    Am I the only person who remembers school and how the good teachers were effective and the crap ones not?

    I also do not get how peers is as low as 41.

    Key sends his kids to private schools for reasons he cannot admit publicly – the teachers are better, they are among peers with similar intent, they have better facilities, streaming/acceleration, better discipline (not mentioned in the list above i believe) and competition (goes against one of the list). It’s worked for more than a century in the UK for public (private) schools.

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  45. OneTrack (2,604 comments) says:

    DPF – Any idea where the most obvious way to improve educational performance is on the list? Or is it like Voldemort – the name that must not be mentioned out loud in lefty land – Streaming.

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  46. OneTrack (2,604 comments) says:

    Closely followed by getting the troublemakers out of general classes so that they dont stuff up the learning of the other 24 kids in the class. Is this another one that the ideology means it cannot even be mentioned?

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  47. Harriet (4,521 comments) says:

    It’s not so much streaming [it helps the smart kids, but it doesn't help well behaved 'dumb' kids, as they end up with all the trouble makers in their class]—— it’s more a case of booting out the troublemakers from schools. That makes a huge difference.

    We had one or two troublemakers who left school during mid year back in the early ’80′s, and the teacher and class were definatly the better for it.

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  48. Lucia Maria (2,207 comments) says:

    Dime asks,

    Is it actually legal for say, 10 parents to get together and employ a teacher to teach their little group?

    I don’t think the system is set up to allow for that. I used to have conversations with a woman who was part of a group trying to do that, and they were running into all sorts of problems. Can’t remember the details, but think it had to do with how the grounds for exemption from regular school were set up. There’s very little flexibility – it’s all or nothing, and the presumption is that it’s the parent that will be doing the teaching. Anything thing else is out of scope.

    Also, there is no allowance for part-time schooling, something which a number of homeschoolers would really like to have.

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  49. doggone7 (699 comments) says:

    dime: “Dime has one question…Do we really have 2000 empty classrooms at the moment? Wtf?”

    With the present teacher-pupil ratio a school has staffing of 7.4 teachers. If with the proposed ratio its staffing goes up to 7.6 does it need a new classroom?

    There are not 2000 empty classrooms at the moment. And they are not needed.

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  50. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    DPF

    You were saying this back in 2010 as well.

    The Labour party seem completely unconcerned about teacher quality, rather just wanting more teachers. Kind of like the unions position really isn’t it. Lucky for our children it’s not the unions running the Labour party eh – doh!

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  51. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    doggone7

    There are not 2000 empty classrooms at the moment. And they are not needed.

    But’s it’s probably at least an extra $1m for the teachers unions, which might just mean another something like an extra $150K for Labour, one way or another. This is politics, state run schools are a licence to print union money.

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  52. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    igm

    Until unionised socialist-dominated losers, calling themselves teachers, are culled from the profession, they will command no respect from either students or parents.

    Well said, nailed it.

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  53. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria

    There’s very little flexibility – it’s all or nothing

    That pretty much describes any state monopoly. Somehow socialism relies on this restriction of freedom and choice to operate. And the lovers of socialism freely abdicate responsibility for their essential services to one size fits all state monopoly providers. Go figure.

    Just yesterday a person I follow on Twitter that frequently retweets left wing propaganda (among other things) was moaning about a 2 hour wait in A&E. Needless to say I pointed out that it’s probably the state run monopoly model they voted for.

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  54. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    This really looks like a rubbish study.

    62. missing

    The expression lies, damn lies and statistics could be extended with meta analyses.

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  55. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    labrator

    OK, so lets take it as read it’s easily framed as ‘A new study shows …’

    However, why, why do the unions so staunchly resist any measurement of teacher’s ability to teach. To inspire and to deliver on the education department charter of helping every child to reach their full potential. Why do the unions and Labour insist it’s only about numbers, not ability?

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  56. Disaster Area (36 comments) says:

    If the Union membership runs at 95 – 98% and you get ‘cull’ of all of the ‘unionist, socialist- dominated losers’ exactly who is going to do the teaching?

    From what I remember is that the Union resisted performance related pay because it is a) very difficult to implement (feel free to suggest how it would be done considering the wide range of decile, subject and school types) and b) there is no reliable evidence that it raises standards. I’m fairly sure it doesn’t appear on the list above.

    Personally, I would take the $350 million and use it to fund sabbaticals and research grants so that teachers can keep abreast of current research and best practice.

    Burt, as I have mentioned before, the PPTA states that it does not donate money to any political party, so there would be no increase in funding for the Labour Party.

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  57. doggone7 (699 comments) says:

    burt; “…But’s it’s probably at least an extra $1m for the teachers unions, which might just mean another something like an extra $150K for Labour, one way or another. This is politics, state run schools are a licence to print union money….”

    And this is education, schooling and teachers. A licence to make ridiculous comments it seems.

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  58. doggone7 (699 comments) says:

    igm: “Until unionised socialist-dominated losers, calling themselves teachers, are culled from the profession, they will command no respect from either students or parents. For far too long they have been attempting to enforce their foul doctrine upon the youngsters of our society, in the belief they know best…”

    Open invitation:

    Here in this public forum is the invitation to say what “foul doctrine” unionised socialist-dominated losers, called teachers, attempted to enforce on your kids and what you did about it. Please share with us all.

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  59. cas (23 comments) says:

    A bit late for this discussion but I’ve just looked at my old school reports from the 1960s. I see my third form class had 36 in it and one of the classes had 40. Am not aware that our education suffered from these sizes.

    By the way has anyone noticed that the photo in the latest Listener of Sue Bradford giving her valedictory speech has a Nicholas Lyndhurst look a like sitting beside her. ( he of Only Fools and Horses fame)

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