Jeremy Corbyn: Children 'crammed into classrooms like sardines' due to Tory schools policy
Jeremy Corbyn has turned his fire on the Tories over schools policy, claiming that children are being left "crammed into classrooms like sardines".
According to Labour research some 500,000 primary age children in England are now in 'supersize' classes of over 31 pupils.
Another 40,000 children are in classes with more than 36 pupils and 16,655 have more than 40 classmates.
Secondary schools have also seen a rise in recent years, with 286,610 pupils now in supersize classes, and just over 18,000 in classes of over 36.
“Seven years of Tory failure and broken promises have left our schools in a terrible state. Hundreds of thousands of our children are paying the price, crammed into classrooms like sardines," Mr Corbyn said.
“The Prime Minister herself has said that super-sized classes are proof of a school system in a crisis. And that’s what we’ve got on the Tories’ watch," Mr Corbyn said.
“School leaders and teachers have said that Tory cuts to school budgets will mean class sizes will be forced to grow even larger. We cannot risk our children’s education in this way.
“Labour will stand up for all children by building a schools system for everyone, keeping class sizes down and making sure schools and teachers have the resources they need to ensure that every child, whatever their background, has access to a world-class education.”
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner blamed rising class sizes partly on the Government's policy on free schools.
“This situation is becoming unsustainable - too many children are being taught in classes which are simply too big," she said.
“The system for school place planning is broken. The Tories need to let go of their unjustified fixation with Free Schools, but instead they have relaxed the rules so even more can be built in areas where there is no demand for places. Free Schools are clearly not addressing the growing pressures on schools.
A Conservative spokesman said Labour's own record in government in Wales showed they could not be trusted to keep class sizes down.
“This is a massive own goal from Labour. In Wales, where they administer schools with the Lib Dems, the numbers of infants in large classes has risen by 18 per cent in just 3 years," he said.
“Of course we are not complacent about the situation in England. There is more to do and that’s why we are spending a record amount on schools– something we can afford to do because of our careful management of the nation’s finances."