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The Independent Online
From Mrs Muriel Brook

Madam: With reference to Wendy Berliner's article "Class size - does it really matter?" (16 February), in 1948, I was the class teacher of 52 all-abilities eight-year-olds in a Nottingham school. We were housed in a cramped hut at the edge of the playground.

About 10 of the class were potential 11-plus successes; 10 more were in urgent need of remedial attention. Most of the first group could work on their own, after some instruction; I had no training or time to enable me to help the second group effectively. I concentrated on the middle majority and felt acutely guilty. One day, during a particularly hard winter, only 30 children attended my class. That was my idea of heaven. At last I could give more than token individual attention to most of the children.

Large classes do materially affect children's progress, happiness and life chances.

Yours sincerely,