At a recent School Board Meeting, the topic of our student population and the pressure it places on facilities and class sizes was discussed. The main concern was that the large population would cause larger class sizes, which would place pressure on teachers and disadvantage students in those classes.
I explained the situation to the Board and was asked to provide the following explanation to all parents.
Class sizes are determined by a formula agreed to by the Department of Education and the State School Teachers Union (WA). Recommended maximum sizes are set which are different for the various year levels and schools are funded accordingly. They are as follows:
- Kindergarten – 20 students per group
- Pre-primary – 27 for purpose built early childhood classrooms (ie they have a kitchen area and built-in toilets, regardless of whether they are transportable or not). 25 students for non-purpose built early childhood classes
- Years 1-3 – 24 students
- Years 4-6 – 32 students
These numbers are recommended maximums and we are often able to use available funds to appoint an additional teacher where required in order to keep them below the recommended maximum.
This year however, we have the added complication of running out of space to locate an additional classroom in which we could appoint an additional teacher and create an extra class. This means that we have been required to form some classes which are one, and in a couple cases, two students above the recommended maximum.
In these cases we have made arrangements to provide additional support to the teachers and the students involved.
These include the appointment of additional Education Assistant time in the following years and during key instructional periods on every day of the week:
- Full time EAs for Kindergarten and Pre-primary,
- Additional special needs support for Pre-primary classes to work with students requiring individualized instruction,
- Additional EA support for students in Years 1, 2 and 3.
- Appointment of a full time EA for our Year 6 classes who working closely with the three Year 6 teachers also provides small group and individual instruction for identified children
In all cases the teachers, within their Year Level teams and led by their relevant Deputy Principal, flexibly allocate students to work with the EAs on identified areas of need in literacy and numeracy. This enables the classroom teacher to work even more closely and effectively with the reduced number of students in their classes.
Teachers who have class sizes that are slightly above the recommended maximum are further supported by being allocated additional non-teaching time during the term to carry out duties other than teaching (report writing, marking etc) to assist them to cope with the additional workload.
I expect this situation to ease in the future, dependent on us decreasing in size from 2018 and beyond, as Honeywood PS becomes a Kindergarten – Year 6 primary school next year.
It is important to note though that schools are funded to have classes at the recommended maximums and if they decide to reduce them, it is a decision made knowing that the consequence is that funds are diverted from other areas of the school in order to achieve the smaller class sizes.
The most important take away from this is that despite the slightly larger class sizes we have in some year levels, our resources and all our processes and key strategies are directed to ensuring that the needs of the students are not compromised and that our purpose of ensuring that every student is a successful learner remains our key focus.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Principal |AUBIN GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL
2016 WA PRIMARY SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
85 Camden Boulevard
AUBIN GROVE WA 6164
Phone: 08 9499 4009 | Mobile: 0417 995 009 | W: aubingroveps.wa.edu.au