Class size

Below is a chronological list of staffing formulas for class sizes that education authorities regarded as desirable for standard classes sizes.

To view current data on class sizes in government primary schools, visit the CESE Datahub.

Class size audits were not conducted in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

YearClass size ratios
1851100 students for every one-teacher school. An assistant teacher could be appointed if average student attendance passed 100.
185670 students for a pupil-teacher, and 100 students for an assistant teacher.
186150 students for a pupil-teacher, and 70 for an assistant teacher. 
190650 students for a pupil-teacher or junior assistant, and 70 for an assistant teacher.
190840 students per teacher (pupil teachers had been phased out). However, an average of 45 or even 50 students per teacher was common.
191940 students per teacher in junior secondary. Most senior secondary classes were a much smaller size.
1939The Minister set the goals for primary classes as a maximum enrolment of 40, with 45 as the immediate aim, and for junior secondary classes as a maximum enrolment of 35, with 40 as the immediate aim. Targets of this order endured for over 20 years, but their implementation was prevented by massive increases in pupil numbers and teacher shortages. In the late 1950s ordinary primary and junior secondary classes still averaged approximately 48 in enrolment.
196938 students per primary school teacher, or 33 in small schools. Secondary staffing based on 40 pupils per teacher in Years 7-9, 37 in Year 10, 28 in Year 11 and 25 in Year 12.
1974Progressive reduction in class sizes began, so as to achieve by 1980 a situation where no class need exceed 30 in Years 1-10 or 25 in Years 11-12. The targets for secondary schools were achieved in 1980, and those for primary schools in 1981.
1977Differential staffing for disadvantaged schools introduced for Years 1-10.
1982Primary staffing based on 30 pupils per teacher, or 26 in small schools; the latter figure was reduced to 25 in 1982. Secondary staffing based on 30 pupils per teacher in Years 7-10 and 25 in Years 11-12. Two pupils fewer per teacher for Years 1-10 in disadvantaged schools.
1990The average class size of primary classes was 27.4 students and the average size of secondary classes was 23.1.
1994The primary teacher staffing formula was revised so no Kindergarten class need exceed 26 students, no Year 1 class need exceed 28 students, no Year 2 class need exceed 29 students and no Year 3 to Year 6 class need exceed 30 students.

The secondary teacher staffing formula was revised so that no Year 7 to 10 class need exceed 30 students and no Year 11 and 12 class need exceed 24 students.
1997The average size of primary classes was 26.9 students and the average size of secondary classes was 23.04.
2002The average size of primary classes was 26.5 students in 2002, with the average size of secondary classes no longer collected.
2004-07Class Size Reduction Program
The statewide average of class sizes from Kindergarten to Year 2 in government schools was reduced over the period 2004-2007 through the implementation of the Class Size Reduction Program.
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