Welsh Lib Dems announce plans to reduce infant class sizes

Welsh Lib Dem Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced plans to reduce infant class sizes and raise standards.

Deilvering smaller class sizes was a priority for the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the last election.

A new £36m fund will be available to local authorities and will be directed at the frontline. Starting with the largest class sizes, it will target classes where teaching and learning needs to improve and where there are high levels of deprivation.

The latest figures show that currently more than 8,000 of infant pupils in Wales are being taught in classes of over 30.

Kirsty Williams said:

“Our national mission is to raise standards and extend opportunities for all our young people.

“Time and time again parents and teachers have told us that they are concerned about class sizes.  We have listened to these concerns, looked at the international evidence, and are today announcing a new £36m fund to address infant class sizes.

“Our plans will target classes where teaching and learning needs to improve and where there are high levels of deprivation, giving our teachers the time they need to teach and to innovate so our pupils get the basics right. 

“There is a positive connection between smaller classes and attainment, particularly for pupils from poorer backgrounds.  This is most significant for younger children, which is why we are targeting this investment at infant class sizes.

Commenting, Baroness Christine Humphreys, Welsh Lib Dem Spokesperson for Skills and Lifelong Learning, said;

“As Liberal Democrats we recognise the transformative nature of education. That’s why I am proud that it is the Welsh Liberal Democrats in government delivering a national mission of reform to ensure that our young people have an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards.

“It was the Welsh Liberal Democrats who prioritised education in the election, setting a challenge for Wales, and we have stepped up to that challenge in government.

“Once again we are demonstrating that we are the party with the ideas to make a real difference to the lives of the people of Wales.”

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