MORE than 20 per cent of Hampshire schools are considered ‘over capacity’, figures have revealed, furthering concerns about them re-opening today.

Data taken in May 2019 by the Department for Education showed 101 out of 490 schools – or 21 per cent of schools – in the Hampshire County Council area were considered above capacity.

This is above the average for England of 17 per cent with 3,330 out of 20,156 schools classed as over capacity.

With some primary schools set to re-open on today (June 1) this was a concern for president of the National Education Union, Amanda Martin. She said: "We absolutely want our kids back in school because it’s the best place for them. But class size is another thing to take into account.

"So in Year 6 in other European countries you could be looking at class sizes of 20 but in England in schools that are over capacity there could be 34, which just adds to the pressure of trying to keep students and teachers safe."

In Hampshire 91 of its primary schools and 10 of its secondary schools were classed as over capacity.

But Councillor Roz Chadd, education boss at Hampshire County Council, said: "Calculating primary school capacity uses a Department for Education prescribed method of assuming 30 children per classroom.

"Admitting additional children is not uncommon. For example, many junior school Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 classes accommodate 32 in a class which, in turn presents as the numbers on roll being “over capacity".

"Secondary school place capacity calculations work on the basis of 75 per cent of the available teaching space, including the use of drama studios, sports and assembly halls, being appropriately occupied.

"In terms of the potential, additional opening of schools to specified year groups at the beginning of next month in the light of the current circumstances, we do not envisage that this would pose a problem, if the government confirms that schools should extend opening in a phased arrangement."

Secondary schools will reopen to some students from June 15.