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Shadow Education Minister seeks end to school class size increases

November 29, 2011 3:29 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education in the Assembly, Aled Roberts, has expressed his concern at today's news that junior and infant class numbers have continued to rise.

Despite a 1999 Government pledge to reduce class sizes, and despite funding being made available to local authorities to address the problem, there are still more than twelve thousand primary school children in Wales who are being taught in classes of more than thirty.

Commenting, Aled Roberts AM said:

"These figures have been rising steadily since 2004.

"We know that children who are taught in smaller classes have a better learning experience and a better chance of higher attainment when they are older.

"Welsh Liberal Democrats have been calling for smaller class sizes for a number of years. Although class sizes decreased after the Welsh Government's initial intervention prior to 2004, they have been gradually rising ever since.

"It would appear that local authorities are unable to adhere to their statutory duty in respect of infant class sizes and are also struggling to manage junior sizes. We need to know the reasons why that is happening.

"Today's figures should be a wake-up call for the Minister, particularly as the next set of class size figures will not be available until after January 2013. The Minister needs to address this issue now, as a matter of urgency."