§ Mr. Deakins
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the correlation 370W between (a) average class size, (b) pupil-teacher ratios and (c) examination attainment in maintained secondary schools.
§ Mr. Dunn
Many attempts have been made by various researchers to examine the relationships between average class size, pupil-teacher ratios and education attainment, but the results have been divergent and inconsistent, and no clear relationships have emerged. The assessment of performance unit reports have found that higher levels of attainment in national monitoring surveys have often been associated with, surprisingly, higher whole-school ratios of pupils to teachers, but this may be at least partly explained by the greater provision made in areas with higher educational needs and low attainments.
An analysis recently published by the Department in Statistical Bulletin 16/83 indicates a strong relationship between the social composition of the resident population and examination results at the local education authority level. The analysis also found that average expenditure per pupil, which is closely associated with the pupil-teacher ratio, does not appear to be a significant factor. Additional work is being undertaken within the Department which will inter alia relate pupil-teacher ratios to examination attainments. A pilot study is also in hand which will enable my right hon. Friend to assess the potential value of further research in this field at the level of the individual school.