Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, said at a seminar organised by the Reform think tank: "You can't have small classes - small groups - and a highly-paid staff." Wilshaw's assertion being that by having bigger class sizes, and therefore fewer teachers, it will be possible to offer higher pay to tempt in better teachers. In this he was parroting Reform's own agenda:
"Ministers should support schools that reduce numbers of teaching assistants and allow class sizes to rise. Ministers should also make the case that having a high quality teacher is more important than smaller class size."
So, is it actually true that our schools have small classes? We produce data below from the OECD's "Education at a glance, 2012" report, which looks at and compares the education systems in the OECD countries.
For both primary and secondary schools up to GCSE, class sizes in England are among the largest in the OECD.
The reality is we already have among the largest class sizes in the OECD. The government's agenda is simply to cut spending in the government education system.
After all, those who can pay for private education can enjoy classes of 15 to 20, as you would find in ordinary schools in Austria, Hungary, and the USA.