100,000 pupils in classes of more than 30, Labour claims

More than 100,000 children are studying in primary school classes with more than the statutory maximum of 30 pupils, Labour has claimed.

The Labour Party has released its analysis of freedom of information figures which it claims show that at least 102,000 pupils are learning in classes with 31 or more pupils in them.

It comes after a war of words erupted between the Conservatives and Labour earlier this year after Labour announced plans to restrict the number of pupils per class, something the Tories claim to already be doing.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said the “crisis” in school places was “yet more evidence that the Tory plan is failing working families”, and blamed the free school programme for diverting money from existing schools.

He added: “Labour has a better plan. Like parents, Labour understands that young children do best in small classes.

“We will cap class sizes for five, six and seven-years-olds at 30 and prioritise spending for new places in areas which need them – paid for by ending the Tories’ flawed free schools programme.

“We will put a qualified teacher in every classroom, improve classroom discipline and raise standards for all children.”

According to Labour, their figure of 102,615 pupils in over-sized classes was reached by scaling the number of pupils in schools with infant classes which provided information on pupil numbers (28,570) over the number of schools itself (4,673).

A Conservative Party spokesperson claimed Labour had got its facts wrong, but did not provide evidence that Labour’s figures were wrong.

She said: “Labour cut over 200,000 primary school places – and even ignored official warnings to provide extra school places after a baby boom.

“The Conservatives have created over 400,000 school places. There are fewer children in overcrowded primary schools and most importantly, one million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010.

“Chaotic Labour can’t even get their facts right. Only the Conservatives have a plan that will give every child the best start in life.”

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