Class-Size Tracker

Frequently Asked Questions


Smaller Primary Class Sizes

What did we do to reduce class sizes?

To make primary class sizes smaller, we needed more teachers and more classrooms. To meet our target for smaller primary class sizes, we funded over 5,000 additional primary teachers and built or renovated nearly 2,000 classrooms.

In 2008-09, we reached our goal of 100% of primary classes having 23 or fewer students and 90% of primary classes having 20 or fewer students.

Is full-day kindergarten included in these results?

Classes under the government's full-day kindergarten program are not part of the primary class size calculations, unless students enrolled in full-day kindergarten are in a class combined with any students from Grades 1 to 3.

Classes under the full-day kindergarten 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.

Why do some full-day kindergarten classes have more than 23 students?

Full-day kindergarten classes have educator teams, comprised of a teacher and an early childhood educator, working together to support children’s learning throughout the two-year full-day kindergarten program. While full-day kindergarten classes are, on average, larger, they have an average ratio of 13 students to one adult, which enables more individual attention for students in the early years.

The government had a target of 90% of all primary classes having 20 students or less. Have school boards reached it?

With additional government funding and hard work at the board and school levels, provincially 90% of primary classes have 20 students or fewer. This goal was first achieved in 2008-09.

What about overcrowded schools? What has the province done to help them?

Some school boards needed new classrooms to make room for smaller primary classes. To help, the province provided funding to support projects to build and renovate about 2,000 classrooms.

Why not limit all primary classes to 20 students? Why are some allowed to be bigger?

Ten percent of classes can have up to three extra students. This gives boards flexibility when students move and change schools.

How did the government reduce primary class sizes in Ontario?

To make class sizes smaller, we needed more teachers and more classrooms. To meet our target for smaller class sizes, we funded over 5,000 additional primary teachers and built or renovated nearly 2,000 classrooms.

Do smaller primary classes mean larger classes in other grades?

No. In fact, the average class size in grades 4 to 8 has gone down since 2003-04, and is now under 25 at the provincial level. However, because these class sizes are calculated as board-wide averages, individual class sizes can vary. Beginning in 2017-18, the government is investing in class sizes for grades 4-8 to ensure that all boards have a maximum regulation class size average of 24.5 or lower within 5 years.

Have smaller primary classes meant more combined grades?

Province-wide, the percentage of combined classes in the elementary grades has increased. But, at some boards, this percentage has actually decreased.

Elementary schools have always had combined grades. Several studies have found that students in combined classes do as well as students in single-grade classes.

Teachers use a variety of strategies to teach students in combined grades. These strategies help ensure that teachers are able to look at the individual learning needs and progress of each student. The ministry will continue to provide support in this area.

Learn more about combined classrooms

How can I get more information or share my ideas?

Contact the Ministry of Education by telephone or mail.