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Class size - does it matter?

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Logic would tell us that the smaller the class size, and the more individual attention that pupils receive, then the better their chances of performing well in tests. This logic is indeed fact.

At Headstart 11+ Tuition our class sizes are capped to a maximum of 8 pupils. This small class size allows pupils to work in a group based environment whilst also being able to receive individualised attention from the teacher. Our progressive and supportive environment has helped many pupils pass the 11+ in the past.

One of the original studies conducted into class sizes was by Glass and Smith (1979). They found that pupil’s performance in tests did not improve significantly when reducing class sizes from 40 to 30 pupils. However as class sizes got smaller the improvements increased significantly, right down to 15 pupils and below (which is the lowest that the study went to). It is theorised that if class sizes dropped below 15, improvements would continue to be seen.

In the 1990’s a huge experiment was carried out across the entire state of Tennessee, called the Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio study. This study “showed pretty definitively that reducing class size increases student achievement”. This enormous study concluded quite convincingly that the lower the number of pupils in an educational setting the better pupils will perform.

Many pupils have stated that the small class size is preferable to both one to one tuition, and larger groups, as they can learn from other pupils and can share ideas and concepts. The positive competition that is evident in small class sizes has also been noted as a factor into why pupils do better than larger numbers.

To find out how we could help your child as they prepare to take the 11+ then please contact us at


Glass, G and Smith, M L. (1979). Meta-analysis of research on class size and achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Nye, B, Hedges, LV and Konstantopoulos, S. (1999). The long-term effects of small classes: a five-year follow-up of the Tennessee class-size experiment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

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