FactCheck: Who’s to blame for rising primary school class sizes?

Challenging David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Ed Miliband said that the government won’t be able to cover the extra primary places without class sizes ballooning. He said the situation’s got worse under the Mr Cameron. But the PM hit back, blaming Labour for cutting places when it was in power. Channel 4 News has fact checked to see who is right…

This is their verdict…

The squeeze on primary school places has risen under the current government. Granted, the number of classes with more than 30 pupils is nowhere near the 29 per cent it was back in 1998, but it has more than doubled to 4.1 per cent under the current government.

So Mr Miliband is right, but he failed to mention that the reason why there is such a squeeze on school places.

Under the Labour government, babies were being born at the fastest rate since the 1950s. The population explosion began in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the Office for National Statistics flagged it up to the Department for Education and the local authorities – those responsible for planning ahead for schools.

Meanwhile, between 2004 and 2010, Labour cut the number of primary school places by 5 per cent – wiping out any extra spaces that might have absorbed the population growth. And during that period, Labour cut school funding by £150m.

When the DfE was finally warned about the population rise by the ONS in 2008, it reacted “too slowly”, a cross-party committee of MPs found.

Blame who you like, but Labour left a ticking time bomb.

More at:  FactCheck: Who’s to blame for rising primary school class sizes?

Your thoughts on the responsibility for the issue, Channel 4 News’s analysis or the potential solutions in the comments or via Twitter please…


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  1. Flutterbiesltd

    SchoolsImprove due to some converting to academy it has fallen on maintained schools to take children they don’t want #sowrong

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