Class-Size Tracker

Frequently Asked Questions


My Child's School

Why do some primary classes still have more than 20 students?

When Ontario set its goal for smaller classes, we allowed 10% of primary classes to have up to 23 students. We know that school boards can't control everything that affects class size. For example:

  • Students move and change schools. So individual class sizes can change from month to month.
  • Also, growing communities and new housing developments can affect class sizes. When new families move into an area, their children attend local schools. More families and more students means class sizes may grow.

The government has worked with school boards to make sure that they meet class size goals. Each board has its own plan. And we reached our goal.

Across the Province

As of 2015-16:

  • 0% of primary classes* have 25 or more students this year compared to 25% in 2003-04.
  • 100% of primary classes* have 23 or fewer students this year compared to 64% in 2003-04.
  • 90% of primary classes* have 20 or fewer students this year compared to 31% in 2003-04.

*Notes:

  • Primary class size percentages have been rounded.
  • Totals may not add up due to rounding.
  • The government's full-day kindergarten (FDK) program is not included in primary class size calculations. Classes under the FDK program differ from other primary classes by having educator teams, comprised of a teacher and an early childhood educator, working together to support children’s learning throughout the two-year Kindergarten program.  In some cases where an FDK class has 15 students or fewer, only a teacher is required.

Why are there more than 23 students in the full-day kindergarten program at my child's school?

Classes under the government's full-day kindergarten program differ from other primary classes by having two educators – one teacher and one early childhood educator - in the classroom.

How will smaller classes help my child?

Smaller classes give teachers more time with each student. More time and attention helps students develop reading, writing and math skills. In fact, studies show1 that smaller classes have:

  • Higher performance
  • More effective teachers
  • Satisfied parents

One study found that primary school children in small classes did better in reading and math than kids in larger classes. The biggest difference was seen in disadvantaged students and students from different cultural backgrounds. They did much better in small classes.

How much money is being spent on my child's school? Where is it going?

The Ontario government sets the class size goal. And we give money to each school board to help them meet it. Your local board decides how to spend those funds, based on each school's unique needs. Contact your board to learn more about their plans to reduce class sizes.

1. (Finn, J.D. and S.B. Gerber. (2005). Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from high school. Journal of Educational Psychology 97(2), 214-223. American Psychological Association.) (Glass, Gene V., Leonard S. Cahen, Mary L. Smith, and Nikola N. Filby. 1982. School class size: Research and policy. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.)