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The Class Size and Pupil Adult Ratio (CSPAR) project is a pioneering, independent research project of international significance, unique in its scale and methodology, conducted by a large team at the Institute of Education, University of London.


The project aimed to study comprehensively for the first time in the UK the effect of class size and pupil/adult ratios upon pupils' academic attainment and on classroom processes such as teaching, pupil attention and classroom behaviour. The first stage of the study examined the influence of class size from school entry in the reception year (4/5 years) through Key Stage 1 (5-7 years). The second stage of the study extended the project by examining the effect over Key Stage 2 (7-11 years).


The study offers an integrated account linking class size, classroom processes and academic attainment, and seeks to solve a long standing puzzle - why the view of professionals and parents that small classes provide a better quality of teaching and learning has not always been supported by research findings.


The project was funded by the English Government, Local Authorities and the ESRC.


In a later study – the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) project - we were able to take advantage of a large data set to examine the effects of class size on teacher pupil interaction and pupil classroom engagement across both primary and secondary sectors.



















The team who worked on the research project:


  • Professor Peter Blatchford (Project Director)
  • Paul Bassett – Statistician
  • Penelope Brown - Researcher
  • Clare Martin - Researcher
  • Dr. Anthony Russell - Researcher
  • Professor Harvey Goldstein – Advisor on the statistical analysis
  • Professor William Brown – Statistician on the analysis of the first (reception) year data
  • Dr Ed Baines and Professor Peter Kutnick – collaborated on the study of within class groupings


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