Commenting on figures from the Labour Party on rising class sizes, Paul Whiteman, general secretary designate of school leaders’ union NAHT, says “a rise in class sizes is down to real terms cuts schools are facing. Every day school leaders are making tough decisions about class sizes, staffing and their curriculum in an effort to balance budgets. But with a £11 billion shortfall across this parliament, we know more money is needed to give children the high standard of education we all want to see.
“Schools will always strive to keep class sizes at an appropriate level. But with increasing pupil numbers, and real terms cuts, it is clear that the government must act on school funding in this autumn’s Budget or risk further increases in class sizes in the years ahead.
“The government must also question whether additional places are being created in the areas that need them. We know that free schools are not always opening where additional places are required, particularly impacting on class sizes in primary education. It's time for a more strategic oversight of place planning at a more local level."
James Bowen, director of middle leaders’ union NAHT Edge, says “class sizes need to be manageable in order for teachers to deliver the appropriate learning environment for all pupils. With a reduction in teaching assistants in recent years, due to real terms funding cuts, the rise in class sizes adds additional pressure on to teachers. For pupils with special educational needs, an increase in class sizes can mean less support. The government must be mindful of this when presiding over further cuts in school funding.”
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