Tuesday 9 March 2021 / 10:31 PM Education / Kate Green

Thousands more children could be returning to overcrowded classrooms as pupils in class sizes over 31 soars under the Conservatives

As children return to classrooms this week, new analysis from Labour today shows that the number of pupils in class sizes over 31 has increased substantially under the Conservatives. This comes after news that secondary school class sizes are at their highest average level since 2001.

Labour’s analysis shows that in 5 years:

·       The number of secondary pupils in class sizes of 31 or more increased by over 130,000, an increase of 43%

·       The number of primary school pupils in class sizes of 31 or more has increased from already high levels by nearly 20,000, or 3.7%

Labour analysis of figures from the House of Commons Library also shows that:

·       The number of secondary pupils in classes of 31 or more has increased since 2010 from one in ten to almost one in seven pupils

·       The number of primary pupils in classes of 31 or more has increased since 2010 from one in nine to one in eight pupils

Coinciding with this increase in class sizes the gap in learning between disadvantaged pupils and their better off peers has not narrowed over the last five years, leaving disadvantaged pupils 18 months behind their peers when taking their GCSEs. Larger class sizes could also create challenges for teachers trying to give pupils individual support and attention as they return to school.

To tackle these inequalities, Labour has launched a new ‘Bright Future Taskforce’ to deliver a long-term strategy for children’s recovery and ensure every child has the chance to fulfil their potential.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“The Conservatives have turned back the clock on education, reversing twenty years of progress to reduce class sizes and ensure every child gets the dedicated teacher attention they need.

“Under the Conservatives the gap in learning between disadvantaged pupils and their peers had not narrowed for five years even before the pandemic. These Conservative choices are holding back children’s education.

“Labour has launched our Bright Future Taskforce to tackle the damage done by these policies ensuring every child can recover from the pandemic and achieve their potential.”