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Jacqui Smith, minister for schools, today welcomed statistics which show yet another increase in the number of teac...
Jacqui Smith, minister for schools, today welcomed statistics which show yet another increase in the number of teachers in our schools.

Figures released today show an increase of 3,500 teachers since last year. There are now 435,400 full time equivalent teachers working in England's schools.

In recent years the government has introduced a range of incentives to boost teacher recruitment and today's figures make clear that these have had a real impact. There are now 36,200 more teachers working in schools than there were in 1997.

These measures are also reflected in the improved vacancy figures that have more than halved since 2001 with noticeable decreases in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science.

The figures make clear that teaching remains a popular and rewarding career choice attracting people of the highest calibre. Our reforms mean that teachers are now better paid and better supported than they have ever been. From this September an experienced teacher in inner London could earn up to£40,000 with Heads being able to earn over£100,000. An increase of 22,300 support staff in this year alone mean that teachers are able to focus on the core business of teaching and pupils are getting the support and help they need.

The SFR School Workforce in England (including pupil:teacher ratios and pupil:adult ratios) January 2006 (Provisional) shows:

* More teachers. Up 3,500 since last year to 435,400. An increase of 36,200 teachers since 1997. While there has been a increase in teacher numbers there has been a decrease in the number of Overseas Trained Teachers and Instructors;

* More support staff. Up 22,300 since last year to 287,100 (including 152,800 teaching assistants) and an increase of 162,800 since 1997;

* More support for every child. The pupil to teacher ratio has fallen from 22.5 to 22 in primary schools and 16.7 to 16.6 in secondary schools. The pupil:adult ratio has fallen from 13.4 to 12.8 in primary and 12.2 to 11.7 in secondary;

* Fewer vacancies. Half the number of vacancies than in 2001. With decreases this year in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science.

Also published today is the SFR Pupil Characteristics and Class Sizes in Maintained Schools in England, January 2006 (provisional). These figures demonstrate the impact that rising teacher numbers are having on our schools. Figures show:

* Smaller class sizes at secondary level. From 21.7 last year to 21.5 this year;

* Stable KS2 class sizes. The average size remains unchanged from last year at 27.3;

* A fall in the number of KS1 classes not complying with Infant Class Size Regulations. Down from 0.9% last year to 0.7% of classes this year.

In September 2001 all infant classes were required by law to contain 30 pupils or fewer, except in very limited circumstances for limited periods of time. This year 0.7% of KS1 classes, not covered by these exceptions, had more than 30 pupils, a fall from 0.9% last year.

There has been a slight increase in the number of KS1 classes with over 30 pupils with permitted reasons. Schools can have KS1 classes over 30 for a limited period without contravening Infant Class Size Regulations if children have moved into the area after the start of the year or if the local authority needs to place a child with Special Educational Needs or a Looked After Child.

Ms Smith said:

'Today's figures continue the trend of significant increases in teacher and support staff numbers since 1997. More teachers and more support staff is evidence of the positive impact that our record investment is making on standards in our schools.

'We have made significant progress in meeting our commitment to limit the class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds, this year the number of classes that contravene class size regulations has fallen.

'However, there has been a small rise in the number of classes - with valid exceptions - where numbers exceed 30 children. The government has a range of legal powers that can be used to ensure that schools fulfil their legal obligations on class sizes, and there should be no doubt that we will not hesitate to use them where necessary.'


1. Maintained Primary Schools: KS1 classes taught by one teacher:


1997 2006


Average class size 26.9 25.6

Number of classes 61,100 54,300

Percentage of

classes with

1 - 30 pupils 76.1 98.3

31-35 pupils 22.2 1.6

36 or more pupils 1.7 0.1

Number of pupils 1,646,700 1,392,600

Percentage of pupils

in classes with

1 - 30 pupils 71 97.9

31-35 pupils 26.7 2.0

36 or more pupils 2.3 0.1

NB: percentages in this table and the SFR are rounded

2. In exceptional circumstances KS1 classes of 31 or over are permitted for a temporary period. These exceptions include children moving into the area outside the normal admissions and children placed in the school by the Local Authority.

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