Average class size defended

NEARLY half of Wigan’s primary schools have a classroom with more than 30 pupils.

Reducing class sizes in schools was a pledge made by the Labour government but has since been scrapped by the coalition.

New figures show that 40 per cent of the town’s primary schools have at least one classroom with more than 30 children, which is the upper limit for infant classes.

In Greater Manchester, the figure was 65 per cent, while in Liverpool the figure was just 30 per cent. The national average is 39 per cent.

Susan Loudon, cabinet member for children and young people at Wigan Council, said: “Families can appeal against a decision to reject a child’s place at a certain school, and if they win, the school has no alternative but to accept the child’s admission.

“The appeal decisions are based completely on the child’s needs. It could be based on health, learning support needs or to be near their family.”

The upper limit of 30 pupils in one class applies to children in Reception and Years One and Two, but there is no limit to the number of pupils allowed in junior classes.

Nick Hudson, the council’s executive director for children and young people’s services, said: “There are just over 100 primary schools within Wigan Council and most have an admission number which is a multiple of 30. Out of 938 primary classrooms just nine per cent have more than 30 children in a class.

“Headteachers arrange teaching groups so that infant classes are taught in groups with a maximum of 30 per class teacher.”