Warwickshire infants will be taught in classes of more than thirty pupils in two years
time if current trends are maintained.
The county education authority will receive upwards of £1 million from the Government
for the year starting September 1999 to cut class sizes even further.
Education Secretary David Blunkett has announced that about £150 million will be
allocated nationwide to providing 2,500 extra teachers and 1,000 more classrooms.
The Government pledged to reduce class sizes to a maximum of thirty pupils per class
and it believes the new money will reduce the number of four to six year olds in oversize
classes to fewer than 200,000. There were more than twice that number in 1998.
The Government promised that no children in the first three years of schooling would be
taught in classes of more than 30 pupils by the year 2002. Warwickshire is on the way to
achieving that a year earlier.
Tony Brown, education officer responsible for class sizes in Warwickshire County
"The money will make a big impact. We received about £580,000 from the Government
last year to reduce classes sizes and we made a lot of headway. This new sum will enable
us to tackle the problem further.
"In the 1997-98 school year beginning in September there were 5,800 children aged
four to six years in classes of more than thirty in Warwickshire. The new money, which
comes on stream this September, will enable us to reduce the overall number to 1,700
children and we are on course to achieve our aim of zero."
Mr Brown said the money would go to the schools with the greatest need. In some cases
it would be used to employ new teachers and in others to retain teachers in schools where
number have been falling.