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School class sizes and groupings

Schools are structured into classes for organisational reasons but learning is generally undertaken in groups.

It's the responsibility of the headteacher to organise the class structure for their school each year.Classes will be either single stage (children from one year group) or composite (children from two or more year groups).

Scottish Government guidelines state that class sizes can't exceed certain numbers:

  • Primary 1 - 25 pupils
  • Primary 2 to Primary 3 - 30 pupils
  • Primary 4 to Primary 7 - 33 pupils
  • Composite classes  - 25 pupils

Decisions on class size will be determined by:

  • the total school roll
  • the number of teachers
  • the physical capacity of the learning and teaching areas
  • any need to accommodate specialist equipment and mobility aids

Children will be placed in composite classes after considering:

  • learning needs
  • gender balance
  • siblings
  • age

Our approach to learning

Schools promote flexible and creative approaches to learning in order to meet the needs of all pupils. Learning takes place in various ways and places using different groupings or processes such as whole class, group and individual activities.

Learning is generally organised in groups even though schools are structured in classes. These groups may be within classes or across classes and may be based on interests, aptitudes or the need to support and challenge pupils.

Children won't always remain in the same class or learning group. Teachers constantly monitor learning needs and make decisions about pupil groupings accordingly. Changes to learning groups occur regularly and changes to classes normally occur at the next natural break (such as after a school holiday). 

Raising concerns

Speak to the school's headteacher if you are unhappy about class organisation.

Page last updated: 10/03/17