Study links literacy to size of class

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The Independent Online

Children could gain up to a year's head start in reading and writing if class sizes were cut to 15, according to the biggest study on the effect of smaller teaching groups.

Children could gain up to a year's head start in reading and writing if class sizes were cut to 15, according to the biggest study on the effect of smaller teaching groups.

The effect is most marked among under-achieving primary school children, but even bright youngsters can leap five months ahead in small teaching groups, researchers fromLondon University's Institute of Education found.

The survey of 10,000 children in more than 300 schools confirmed for the first time a clear link between class size and academic progress, broadly backing the Government's drive to cut primary school class sizes.

The researchers, Professor Peter Blatchford and Professor Harvey Goldstein, found measurable improvement if primary reception classes were cut to half the current maximum of 30, even after taking account of factors such as deprivation.

Professor Blatchford said: "Although these findings seem obvious to most teachers and parents, research evidence to date has not borne them out.

"Teaching quality is obviously vital, but teachers don't operate in a vacuum; they have to adapt to the classroom context, including numbers of children."

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