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Lib Dems pledge huge investment

PRIMARY pupils will be taught in classes of no more than 25 and every three and four-year-old will have a free nursery place, if the Liberal Democrats win the next election.

Under plans revealed this week as part of a pound;3 billion package, extra primary teachers would be recruited to free existing staff from the classroom for two hours a week to enable them to plan and prepare lessons,

Teaching time would also be increased by reducing targets and bureaucracy, according to the pre-manifesto document, Freedom in a Liberal Society.

University tuition fees would be abolished and there would be a new student grant package.

The national curriculum would be replaced by a "minimum curriculum entitlement" to ensure that every pupil studied a broad and balanced curriculum. All fve to 16-year-olds would study languages, science, maths, the humanities, creative arts, physical development, parenting and citizenship.

A Liberal Democrat government would also give each pupil at least one hour of Internet access every week as part of extra funding for books and equipment.

The party also plans to remove the backlog of school repairs by 2010.

It will also promote more safe routes to schools, to encourage parents to allow their children to walk or cycle to school.

The party's education spokesman Phil Willis said: "The Liberal Democrats will give teachers the freedom to teach ... cutting bureaucracy and promoting creativity in the classroom. We will invest in education at all levels ... with an additional penny on income tax if necessary."

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