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Class sizes still need to reduce

MORE than 650,000 English eight to 11-year-olds are still being taught in classes of more than 30 pupils, despite a reduction in primary class sizes since Labour came to power.

Schools minister Estelle Morris said that the number of key stage 2 classes taught by one teacher with 31 or more pupils fell by 2,500 to 22,800 between 1998 and 2001. This means that 30 per cent of junior pupils are still in classes of more than 30.

The Government has pledged o reduce class sizes for all five to seven-year-olds to 30 or below by 2002. However, it has been accused of ignoring larger classes for older pupils.

In reply to a question by Labour MP Gerry Steinberg, Ms Morris said that average primary class sizes had fallen at key stage 1 from 27.1 pupils in January 1998 to 25.2 in January 2001. But average class sizes for older primary pupils have fallen only slightly, from 28.3 in 1998 to 27.9 this year.

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