You asked… Elementary Class Sizes

You asked… Elementary Class Sizes
Posted on 09/10/2021
You asked… Elementary Class Sizes

Every year we receive questions from parents about class size and how many students they can expect to see in their child's class this year.  

Class sizes are based on provincial rules and funding primarily tied to overall student enrolment. There are "caps" or maximum class size limits on some grades and/or programs but not all grades have caps. For reporting purposes, these rules must be calculated based on a day in September selected by the board.

Here are the basic rules from the Ontario Ministry of Education:

  • Kindergarten: the maximum class size is capped at 29 students per class with one teacher and one Early Childhood Educator for each class;
  • Grades 1, 2, 3: no class can be above 23 students; 90% of classes in these grades must be 20 or below; 
  • Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: there is no maximum class size, but the system average must be 24.5 across all junior and intermediate classes;

In the spring, we planned all of our classes for September based on these requirements. The class size caps and averages apply to both in person classes and virtual classes, collectively. 

This table shows the requirements and the projections for elementary class sizes for in person and virtual learning for September 2021:

Ministry Requirement

In Person


Sept. 2021




Sept. 2021



Average of 26; cap of 29




Grades 1,2, 3

Cap of 20 (10% up to 23)



Junior, Intermediate

Grades 4,5,6,7,8

No maximum

District average of 24.5



These are averages. There are classes where the actual number of students exceeds the average, either in person or remote. This can occur in schools with very high or very low enrolment, a large number of program offerings, and/or a large variance in the number of students per grade. 

Every September, we review class sizes based on the actual number of students attending including new registrants , moves and program changes (1275 registrations were processed this summer). This will happen as usual this year, and as always that can lead to some adjustments where necessary. School principals do an excellent job of managing that process to make any adjustments as quickly and as easily as possible, although it can take a few weeks for the final fall staffing and class reorganizations to occur. 

For the 2021-22 school year, more students have returned to in-person learning than the previous year. As a result, we have been monitoring class size carefully and balancing class size with COVID-19 prevention strategies.  One way of meeting physical distancing requirements is to ensure maximum space for students attending school in person. Larger rooms are typically reserved for larger class sizes. Other key COVID-19 prevention strategies include keeping class cohorts, using masks and/or personal protective equipment, practicing good hygiene, maintaining physical distance, regular cleaning and high touch surface cleaning, improving ventilation and adding HEPA filtration units as needed - all of these strategies are being implemented.

Please contact your principal if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s school.

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