British Primary School Classes Are Biggest In Europe

08/09/2010 10:23 | Updated 22 May 2015

Class sizes in Britain's primary schools are among the biggest in the developed world, according to a new global study.

There are an average of 26 pupils in state-funded British primary schools – more than any other country in Europe, USA and Mexico. The average across the world is just 21.6.

Out of 39 developed nations, only eight have larger classes: Brazil, China, Israel, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Turkey, and Chile.

Spain and Mexico have the fewest pupils, with an average of less than 20.

The figures, from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), also found a large gap between average class sizes in public and private schools in the UK. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the world, where class sizes between the two sectors do not differ.

Andreas Schleicher, of the OECD, said that large state primary classes in the UK 'help to lower costs.'

He said: 'The larger class sizes allow the UK to afford better teacher pay and longer student learning hours, so basically it's quite an effective spending choice.'

Education Secretary Michael Gove recently warned that primary schools will have to find room for an extra 35,000 pupils over the next for years, due to a 15 per cent increase in demand for places.

What do you think?

Do children suffer or benefit for having so many other children in their class?

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