EDUCATION – CLASS SIZES – 25 October 2001

Dr Julian Lewis:What assessment she [Estelle Morris] has made of the relationship between class size and examination results?

[The Minister for School Standards (Stephen Timms): My Department and local education authorities have jointly commissioned the university of London's Institute of Education to research the effect of smaller class sizes. The preliminary findings suggest that smaller classes, particularly reception classes, are indeed beneficial.]

Dr Lewis: That research, if accurate, contradicts the findings of other recent research, which suggests that there is little significant correlation between class sizes and academic performance, and examination results in particular. Given that there is such a contradiction, why will not the Government take up the eminently practical suggestion, made time and again, that when league tables are published showing examination results, the class sizes should be shown alongside, so that people can assess whether there is a correlation?