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No broken promises on class size

It is important to put the record straight on primary class sizes (TES Cymru, March 16).

Labour has not broken promises. The Partnership Government's policy on class sizes referred to the recruitment of more teachers and funding to bring junior class sizes to a limit of 30 pupils per class, as already applies to infant classes.

This policy foreshadowed the introduction of the additional revenue funding provided from 20012 for reducing junior class sizes. There was also a reference to having a view to setting a target of class sizes of 25 but this was not an absolute commitment.

I always have to consider costs and benefits when deciding school improvement initiatives, and I made it clear as far back as June 2003 that I would be thinking carefully before committing more resources to reducing class sizes further.

Most studies, including an Estyn-commissioned report, concluded that further reductions in the number of pupils in a class taken by a qualified teacher did not necessarily improve outcomes. Moreover, we have at the same time taken forward the foundation phase, which will significantly improve adult:pupil ratio.

Jane Davidson

Minister for education, lifelong learning and skills

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