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Worried councillor complains over large class of 65 at Horizon Community College

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Wednesday 25th December 2013
Concerned: Coun Gill Carr.

GCSE maths students in a Barnsley school are being taught in a large class of up to 65 pupils.


A worried Barnsley councillor complained to Horizon Community College about the oversized class which has been running for about a month because a teacher is ill.


But headteacher Nick Bowen said the school was making the best use of its most-qualified teachers, and its modern building, which is designed to accommodate occasional larger classes.


Coun Gill Carr said: "I'm very concerned. These are year ten students doing GCSEs. They can't concentrate if they've got 65 in the class."


One parent, who didn't want to be named, said: "There's too many people in the class not wanting to learn. My child does want to learn. I understand they've got a teacher off sick, but they've got to do something about it."


But Mr Bowen said it had been the best move for the pupils.


"This is not just any teacher taking this class. He's an advanced skills teacher. An outstanding teacher.


"It's better to have an outstanding teacher take both classes together, rather than half of them get an outstanding teacher and the other half get a supply teacher just giving out a few worksheets."


He said the school had been designed with special flexible classrooms which could be opened up for larger groups, but that if the ill teacher doesn't return after Christmas, the school will look at alternatives.


He added: "Our maths results are rocketing. This year 63 per cent of students achieved the benchmark five GCSEs at A* to C including maths and English - higher than the national average.


"I think there was only us and Penistone achieved higher than the national average."

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Posted by Mr Benson I Mon 6th Jan 2014 at 1:35pm

The rooms are designed for extended groups sizes but recommendations suggest no class size bigger than 33/34. Combining groups, no matter how pleasant, runs the risk of firefighting rather than teaching. Teacher/pupil contact within an hour is severely hampered in large groups so god knows what's happening in this environment.

Posted by a concerned citizen I Tue 7th Jan 2014 at 4:06pm

Dictator, much?

Posted by Kony I Sat 11th Jan 2014 at 8:31pm

AontheH blog has proved that this shares no values with the two previous schools.

Posted by Clive I Fri 17th Jan 2014 at 4:39pm

Teachers are over paid under worked prize whingers. If they don't like the job, then pack up. It's not compulsory you know.

Posted by C. Owen I Fri 24th Jan 2014 at 9:49pm

Mr Bowen clearly employs the wrong sort of supply teachers. I have been a supply teacher for over 10 years and I have never just 'given out a few worksheets.' but have always endeavoured to teach a class to the best of my ability. As do most of the supply teachers I know. I suspect this is more about saving money than anything else!

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