My oldest kids are at a catholic school on the sunshine coast QLD and
my son has 24 in his class (yr 2) and my daughter has 23 (prep). In the prep year there is also a full time Teaching assistant. As far as I know those numbers are fairly constant throughout the school up to yr 7.
I teach kindy (year before school) and currently have a class of only 12 kids (we are a new class opening so hoping the numbers can grow). I can have up to 22 kids but will also have a TA in the room with me then. I am used to a larger class so for me 12 kids is such a blessing, it is so much easier to get to know all the kids and develop personalised learning plans for each of them.
As for the NZ debate- I would be SOOOOOO unimpressed as a teacher. IMO the way that education is going to improve is smaller class sizes and more personalised attention from a teacher. An effective teacher could receive a class with a lot of high needs kids and therefore more attention will be focussed on these kids to the detriment of others in the class. As MEl-O said - crowd control rather than learning.
Mr J (April 2005) Miss Z (Feb 2007) and Miss O (Oct 2010)