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Pledge on cash to cut class size

The Government may consider ring fencing pound;4 million for reducing class sizes in the early primary years, Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, told the AHTS conference.

Heads approved the move to protect spending after telling the minister they lacked confidence in local authorities to use the cash as directed. "If this money is for cutting class sizes, I'll make sure it goes for cutting class sizes," Mr Wilson said.

Although he would not renege on the election commitment of cutting infant classes to 30, he said he was looking for flexible ways to deploy the money without forcing councils to spend on extra buildings or interfering with parents' choice of school.

He backed a proposal to allow schools to use an extra member of staff in the early years as they saw fit: "That's exactly the way we should be approaching this."

He told heads the extra cash Labour had spent in office was about pound;140 per pupil. "As money becomes available, education will be up there at the top of the priorities," he added.

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