The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has highlighted Department for Education figures which showed more than 40,000 primary school children are taught in classes of 36 or more pupils, and has claimed pupils are being crammed in “like sardines” into ‘super-sized” school classes.
The figures show that a total of 16,655 primary pupils were being taught in classes of 40 or more, with nearly half a million being taught in classes containing between 31 and 35 children.
When the Conservatives came to power in 2010 there were 16 primary schools with more than 800 pupils, there are now 109 throughout the country.
Corbyn said that Conservative cuts to the education budget would only make the problem worse.
“Seven years of Tory failure and broken promises have left our schools in a terrible state,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands of our children are paying the price, crammed into classrooms like sardines.
“The prime minister herself has said that super-sized classes are proof of a school system in a crisis. And that’s what we’ve got on the Tories’ watch.”
Corbyn argued that if Labour formed a government after the June general election it would “stand up for all children by building a schools system for everyone, keeping class sizes down and making sure schools and teachers have the resources they need to ensure that every child, whatever their background, has access to a world-class education.”
A Conservative spokesman hit back at the claims, saying: “Of course we are not complacent about the situation in England. There is more to do and that’s why we are spending a record amount on schools – something we can afford to do because of our careful management of the nation’s finances.”