In the first keynote speech of the Liberal Democrat...
- Education Professionals
Rise in over-sized infant classes
Government data has revealed the number of large infant classes in England has more than doubled in the past four years.
Latest figures show there are just over 1,500 over-sized classes for this age group this year, compared with 724 in 2008. The figure is a small rise on last year, when there were about 1,370 such classes.
There is pressure on councils in England to find extra primary school places. Official forecasts earlier this year showed an extra 450,000 places would be needed in England by 2015. In most cases, the over-sized classes have been legally expanded above the 30 pupil limit.
Schools are allowed to waive the limit when families move to an area mid-year and no other places can be found near them; if the parents have won a place after an appeal or if a child is admitted because of their special educational needs.
Earlier this year, Sutton Council in London called on the government to lift the limit on infant class sizes, saying this would help deal with the shortage of primary school places.
London and Birmingham are among the areas facing the biggest shortages. More schools and classrooms are being built there and in other hot-spots across the country. Labour set the legal limit on infant class sizes in 1998.
The Department for Education said most classes with more than 30 pupils had been expanded lawfully, for sensible reasons.