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Action needed to tackle large class sizes in schools

There are countless examples of tory promises failing to live up to reality but few have been as stark as primary school class sizes.

In their 2010 general election manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to create "small schools with smaller class sizes" while David Cameron previously said “the more we can get class sizes down the better”.

Instead, after years of falling class sizes under Labour, parents and children in Wyre Forest are now facing bigger classes and the consequences of the Tories’ failed policies and broken promises.

The truth is that in 2012, David Cameron’s government relaxed the rules on infant class sizes. Now, the number of infants taught in large classes of over-30 has spiralled by 200 per cent since 2010 – to over 93,000 children nationally.

This is while David Cameron’s pet project Free School programme has diverted funding away from the areas that require it the most. Instead of focusing the programme on areas where need is greatest, two thirds of all free school places have been created outside of areas classified as having high or severe primary need.

In Worcestershire alone there are now 247 infants being taught in large classes of over 30 children, an increase of 88% since the Tories came to power in 2010.

The teachers at my old school on Comberton do a fantastic job but the government’s misallocation of funding for new schools is making it harder for heads and teachers to do their jobs. It’s shocking that so many of our young children are being denied the benefits that come from being taught in appropriate class sizes, especially at such an important stage in their educational development.

We need to do things differently if we’re going to give our kids the best possible start in life. That’s why Labour will empower local communities to have a greater say on education in their area. This way local parents will be able to take action for themselves when they see a problem such as large classes at their child’s school.

The Tories’ record on education is one of falling standards, the wrong priorities for schools, forcing more infants into larger classes, even more unqualified teachers in our classrooms, declining opportunities for young people and even now hinting that in future providers will be able to make a profit out of our children’s education.

We can’t afford another five years of Tory complacency, otherwise we risk more of our young children being left behind in classes too big for them to be taught properly.

 

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