You might have noticed that schools are getting a lot bigger these days. This is not merely a UK phenomenon; school sizes have increased globally as educational models move away from small local schools to larger, more cost-effective institutions.
As a new wave of super-sized schools is planned for the UK it’s probably a good idea to look at how these massive schools actually work. The largest school in the world is the City Montessori School (or CMS) in the northern India city of Lucknow.
Bigger is better
CMS educates about 52,000 students through all age ranges from infants through primary to secondary school level. These pupils attend 20 different campuses across the city. At the Kanpur Road campus alone, more than 7,000 students between the ages of 5 and 17 are taught every day. The class sizes are very large when compared to British schools, with over 45 students in a classroom being the norm.
However, the educational outcomes that the school achieves are truly astounding: 40 per cent students score higher than 90 per cent on their final exams – the Indian equivalent of A Levels – and there is an average pass rate of 80 per cent. Those are the kind of results that would make British head teachers weep with joy!
The teachers are highly motivated and well paid compared to their state sector counterparts, and they are supported by highly qualified teaching assistants to deal with the large class sizes. Nevertheless, CMS’s pastoral care system is enviable when you account for the volume of students.
British mega schools
How we build new schools in the UK in the future can be informed by the Indian experience.
There are obvious differences in the funding model and student selection between CMS and the state sector in the UK. They have to think about buildings, windows, doors, walls and floors which normally equate to Laminate Wood Flooring. Irwin Tiles is a company that has a great range of flooring for schools to look through at a great price. CMS is essentially a private school that can pick and choose students, so they tend to come from more financially secure families who are engaged in their children’s education. Yet, best practices in the private sector can help British planners as they face a shortfall of school places in the coming years running into hundreds of thousands of pupils.