National class sizes

The national maximum class sizes for a single year group are:

  • Primary 1 - up to 25 pupils
  • Primaries 2-3 - up to 30 pupils
  • Primaries 4-7 - up to 33 pupils

The maximum size of a composite class of any age group is 25 pupils.

What is a composite class?

A composite class is one where children from two or more year groups are taught together.

Almost all primary schools in Scottish Borders have one or more composite classes, and in small schools pupils are likely to be in composite classes throughout their primary years.

Why are composite classes formed?

Composite classes are formed to make efficient use of teaching staff in a school.

The number of teachers in a primary school is based on the number of children on the total school roll, not on the number in any single year group. The headteacher decides on the best possible structure of classes based on the number of pupils enrolled.

In constructing classes, headteachers follow the guidance on national maximum class sizes and our composite class policy.

How are children allocated to composite classes?

Headteachers will arrange classes following the priority order set out in our class composition policy, which is:

  • combining whole year groups together (possible only in smaller schools)
  • age (the youngest children from one year group with the oldest children from the year group below)

The headteacher will have discretion to make exceptions for individual children with specific needs, for example additional support needs or emotional, social or behavioural considerations, in consultation with their parents. Friendship groups alone are not considered to be an exception.

How will I know about composite class arrangements in my school?

When there is a requirement for a new composite class, for example when there haven't been composite classes in the school before, the headteacher will meet with parents before decisions are made to explain why the composite class is required and to discuss how the policy will be applied.

Headteachers will also keep parents informed about how children are taught in composite classes, and what will be done in school to develop a year group identity for children in composite classes.

Parents will be given information about what class their child is in as early as possible, although all arrangements are subject to change should more children join or leave the school after the information is provided.

Will the same children always be in a composite class?

In smaller schools, all children will be in composite classes throughout their time in school.

Where a composite class involving the same year groups will continue from one year to the next, the presumption is that the same children will remain in the composite class. This is because they will have become used to working with that group of children and they will have created a class identity. However, the headteacher has the discretion to make different arrangements depending on the specific local circumstances, for example if a very small number of children from one year group has been in the composite class.

Who can I talk to about composite classes?

A parent who wants to know more about composite classes, or to discuss the class arrangements for their own child, should contact their headteacher.

Read our composite classes policy

Contact HQ Operations Team

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 0300 100 1800