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Revealed: These are the most overcrowded classrooms in the West Midlands

Revealed: These are the most overcrowded classrooms in the West Midlands

One in seven primary schools in the West Midlands have more than 30 pupils per classroom teacher, new analysis reveals.

Our investigation has shown that 107 of the 760 primary schools in the West Midlands that have figures available had a particularly high ratio of pupils to teachers in 2017.

The figures, which are based on data from the Department for Education, have come at a time when the Government’s spending watchdog has said schools in England are in crisis due to teacher shortages.

The National Association of Head Teachers have called the number of schools with more than 30 pupils per classroom teacher “concerning” – blaming insufficient funding and poor recruitment – and warn that bigger classrooms result in less individual attention for children.

Our exclusive research shows Sandwell has a particularly proportion of primary schools with a high ratio of pupils to teachers compared to the rest of the country, with 30 per cent of schools and more than 9,600 children affected.

In comparison, just one in six primary schools across England had more than 30 pupils for every classroom teacher on average.

North Wales Education Consortium receives its Estyn vedict. Expecting it to be pretty poor

The worst offender in the West Midlands was Chivenor Primary School in Birmingham, which had the equivalent of just three full time classroom teachers in November 2016 – the latest data available.

That’s compared to 319 pupils in January 2017, meaning there were 106 children for every teacher in the school.

These figures are for qualified classroom teachers only – official pupil teacher ratios can include other staff who may not have traditionally defined classroom-teaching roles.

Other schools with very high numbers of pupils compared to teachers were Oasis Academy Blakenhale Junior, also in Birmingham, with 56 pupils for every teacher, and Grace Mary Primary School in Sandwell, with 51.

Some schools in the West Midlands had high numbers of teachers compared to the number of pupils, however.

Yarnfield Primary School in Birmingham, has the equivalent of 42 full time teachers – and with 662 children attending the school, that translates to one teacher for every 16 children.

Pupils in a classroom

Meanwhile, Yew Tree Community Junior and Infant School in Birmingham has the equivalent of around 29 full time teachers and 462 pupils, or 16 children for every teacher.

No ‘all-through schools’ – which cater for students of both primary and secondary age – or six form colleges in the West Midlands had such high pupil-teacher ratios last year.

However, one secondary school in our area did have more than 30 pupils for every classroom teacher – Stoke Studio College for Manufacturing and Design Engineering, which had 84 pupils for every teacher.

Stoke is one of just a few places in the country to see such high numbers of pupils for every classroom teacher in a secondary school.

Across England, 27 secondary schools were in this situation – just one per cent of the total.

Research from the Department for Education has shown that a smaller class size has a positive impact on attainment and behaviour in the early years of school – individual pupils are the focus of a teacher’s attention for more time; there is more active interaction between pupils and teachers; and more pupil engagement.

‘It’s highly concerning’

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “It’s highly concerning to see an increase in the number of overcrowded classrooms.

“The latest School Cuts research shows that staff numbers in secondary schools have fallen by 15,000 between 2014/15 and 2016/17 despite having 31,000 more pupils to teach.

“This equates to an average loss of 5.5 staff members in each school since 2015; in practical terms this means 2.4 fewer classroom teachers, 1.6 fewer teaching assistants and 1.5 fewer support staff.

“Insufficient funding is one of the biggest contributory factors to a rise in pupil to teacher ratios.

“School Cuts research forecasts that 17,942 (nine out of ten) primary and secondary schools in England and Wales will be hit by a real-terms cut in funding per pupil between 2015-19.

“The cuts to front-line teaching posts combined with a rise in pupil-to-classroom teacher ratios, mean bigger classes and less individual attention for children.

“Recruitment is the other big influencing factor on classroom ratios. We need the right people with the right skills in front of our children.

“Our Leaky Pipeline report shows that too few graduates are choosing teaching as a career and too many experienced teachers are leaving the profession prematurely, while all too often recruitment efforts fail to produce enough high quality candidates.

“The government must make the changes necessary to ensure a workforce that can deliver the best education for all. This should be the focus of all our attention, to attract and retain teachers, pay them properly, treat them well and respect their need for a proper work-life balance.”

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Most crowded primary schools in the West Midlands

Area // School // FTE classroom teachers Nov 2016 // FTE pupils Jan 2017 // Number of pupils per teacher

Packmoor Ormiston Academy // 463 // 11 // 42

St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School // 448 // 11 // 41

St Teresa’s Catholic (A) Primary School // 351 // 9 // 39

St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School // 226 // 6 // 38

Priory CofE Primary School // 443 // 12 // 37

Newstead Primary Academy // 330 // 9 // 37

Norton-Le-Moors Primary Academy // 253 // 7 // 36

St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School // 360 // 10 // 36

Christ Church CofE Primary School // 214 // 6 // 36

St Peter’s Catholic Primary School // 242 // 7 // 35

Least crowded primary schools in the West Midlands

Area // School // FTE classroom teachers Nov 2016 // FTE pupils Jan 2017 // Number of pupils per teacher

Ball Green Primary School // 352 // 21 // 17

Alexandra Junior School // 224 // 12 // 19

Sandon Primary Academy // 406 // 20 // 20

Sutherland Primary Academy // 479 // 22 // 22

Abbey Hulton Primary School // 225 // 10 // 23

Grove Junior School // 409 // 18 // 23

Heron Cross Primary School // 365 // 16 // 23

Holden Lane Primary School // 231 // 10 // 23

Belgrave St Bartholomew’s Academy // 487 // 21 // 23

Our Lady and St Benedict Catholic Primary School // 212 // 9 // 24

Area // schools with ≤30 pupils per teacher // schools with >30 pupils per teacher // % of total

Sandwell // 66 // 28 // 30%

Wolverhampton // 60 // 11 // 15%

Walsall // 71 // 13 // 15%

Dudley // 67 // 10 // 13%

Solihull // 52 // 7 // 12%

Coventry // 75 // 9 // 11%

Birmingham // 262 // 29 // 10%

West Midlands // 653 // 107 // 14%

England // 13,748 // 2,824 // 17%


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