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Class Sizes (Chelmsford)

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

13. In how many primary schools in Chelmsford there were over 30 pupils in a class on the latest date for which figures are available. (292204)

As of January 2009, no primary schools in either Chelmsford or West Chelmsford breached the infant class size duty by having classes of 31 or more pupils in reception or key stage 1. One class misreported its school census return, but this did not result in a breach of the duty. There were 11 primary schools in West Chelmsford and 21 in Chelmsford with classes of 31 or more pupils at key stage 2. It is for local authorities to consider how their level of provision best meets the needs of local parents and children and to consider any necessary improvements.

What help will be given to schools which, as a result of financial difficulties and possibly going into deficit, are planning to make teachers redundant so as to cut costs, which could adversely affect the size of classes?

The hon. Gentleman knows that the target of class sizes of less than 30 in years 1 and 2 and in reception is a firm target that must be complied with. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will take action if schools do not do that. It is interesting to note that in 1997, 29 per cent. of pupils were in classes of more than 30, which compares with just 2 per cent. today.