Havering pupil-to-teacher ratio higher than outer London average – and rising

Agency education staff spending cost �15m in Essex over the last three years. Stock image. Picture:

One union spokesperson said the rising ratio of pupils-to-teachers was unsurprising - Credit: PA

The ratio of pupils per qualified teacher in Havering is rising and remains higher than average for outer London. 

According to national statistics released in June, in 2020/21 there were 19.7 pupils for each qualified teacher in the borough, a 4.2 per cent increase on the 18.9 recorded in 2015/16. 

This is both higher than the average for outer London – 18.6 youngsters in 2020/21 – and a steeper rise on 2015/16 than the outer London figure of 1.6pc. 

Research by Oxford Home Schooling found the number of pupils per qualified teacher had risen across England, with some local authorities reporting a five-year increase of more than 10pc. 

While not as high as that, Havering’s five-year increase is nearly double the national average for state-funded students (2.2pc). 

Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for education, children and families at Havering Council, admitted there had been a “slight increase” in the pupil-to-teacher ratio, which he blamed on a rise in the local birth rate. 

He said: “We continue to work with local schools to ensure this doesn’t affect pupils’ education or welfare. 

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“We are also delivering a £33 million schools expansion programme to improve schools and create extra school places throughout the borough.” 

John Delaney, Havering district secretary of the National Education Union, said he was unsurprised by rising class sizes in the borough. 

He said: “Nationally, schools have been underfunded by government for years and it has had an impact on class sizes everywhere, but the research shows it is clearly worse in Havering.” 

He suggested academisation may have had a particularly damaging effect on the borough, as compared to some of its neighbours. 

“There are many more academies and MATs (multi-academy trusts) in Havering than in our immediate neighbours such as Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham,” he said. 

John alleged some of these schools try to make savings using tactics such as increasing class sizes.  

“It would suggest to me that in Havering, education has been commodified to a greater extent than in other areas in London.”