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Minister U-turn on class size

The fall-out over a broken promise by Labour to reduce primary class sizes continued this week as opposition parties went on the attack.

It followed the publication of a letter by Jane Davidson, minister for education, lifelong learning and skills, saying she had dropped a partnership agreement between Labour and Liberal Democrats - supporting a commitment for maximum classes sizes of 25 - because "she wasn't convinced that pupils would benefit".

In the letter, dated December 5, 2005, she said her decision had been backed by scientific research. She claimed that, while there were benefits in reducing class sizes for teachers, teaching methods and organisation had a greater effect.

But William Graham, Assembly government education spokesman for the Welsh conservatives, said: "It is recognised that the advantage of reducing class sizes is that it lessens the burden on teachers."

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