Children learn better in smaller classes

Young children who are taught in smaller classes may achieve more as a result. This is the suggestion of new research from IFAU, the Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy in Sweden, which showed reduced numbers in the classroom can prove profitable to society.

According to the investigation, pupils in groups of a diminutive size in grades four to six came away with better results - and were even more likely to earn more money once they started working.

It was demonstrated that young people in smaller classes had higher cognitive and non-cognitive skills than their peers, while they also scored better on standardised national tests.

Bjorn Ockert, one of the researchers behind the report, noted: "These higher wages in adulthood indicate that students from small classes are more productive."

Mr Ockert added this impact on earning power is "sufficiently large for the surplus to outweigh the direct costs of having smaller classes".

Dr Ioan Rees, Chartered Psychologist and Managing Director of Sycol, commented: "There is no doubt that small classes help good teachers become great teachers. However, a small class size will never rescue a child from the blight of poor tuition.

"Given the choice between either large class:excellent teacher or small class:poor teacher, the argument in favour of small class size being the main factor for achievement becomes questionable."