Over-full classrooms are Cameron’s fault

Aug 18, 2014 by

Shadow education secretary will promise to end Tories’ free schools and stop ever larger class sizes if Labour win election

David Cameron is to blame for a huge growth in the number of over-filled classrooms, with up to 70 pupils being taught together in some schools, after the government diverted scarce resources to its free schools “pet project”, Labour will claim on Monday.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, will say that parents face a choice at the next election between the prospect of “ever more children crammed into large class sizes” under the Tories or a Labour government that would target resources on areas of need by ending the free schools programme.

In a speech on education ahead of the publication of GCSE results later this week, Hunt will highlight figures that show a 200% increase in the number of infants taught in classes with more than 30 pupils since 2010. This has increased from 31,265 pupils in January 2010 to 93,665 in January this year.

Hunt will say that Department for Education figures show that 40,000 primary school children are being taught in classes of more than 36 pupils. More than a third of these are being taught in classes of over 40; 5,817 are in classes of over 50; 2,556 are in classes of over 60 and 446 are in classes of over 70.

Labour will claim that if the trend continued until 2020, nearly half a million infants – 450,000 or a quarter of the total – would be taught in classrooms of more than 30 pupils.

The shadow education secretary will say the prime minister and his former education secretary, Michael Gove, have reneged on their 2010 election manifesto to deliver “small schools with smaller class sizes”.

Hunt will blame the Tories’ failure to deliver their manifesto pledge on Gove’s free school programme, which diverted resources from areas of need.

Hunt will say: “By diverting resources away from areas in desperate need of more primary school places in favour of pursuing his pet project of expensive free schools in areas where there is no shortage of places, David Cameron has created classes of more than 40, 50, 60 and even 70 pupils.

“Labour will end the free schools programme and instead focus spending on areas in need of extra school places. The choice on education is clear: the threat of ever more children crammed into large class sizes under the Tories or a Labour future where we transform standards with a qualified teacher in every classroom and action on class sizes.”

via Over-full classrooms are Cameron’s fault, says Tristram Hunt | Education | The Guardian.

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