Overcrowded classes persist

Nearly a third of children in Sheffield are not deemed 'school ready' when they enter year one (pic: PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Nearly a third of children in Sheffield are not deemed 'school ready' when they enter year one (pic: PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Scores of Lancashire youngsters are being taught in overcrowded classes, according to official data – but the numbers have fallen for the third year running.

Class sizes for key stage one pupils is legally set at 30 but figures collated by the Department for Education reveal that the number of infant pupils in classes over 30 increased across the North West by 160 per cent since 2011.

Nationally it has risen by 91 per cent.

The figures show that although the numbers are falling, they are still higher than eight years ago.

Of infants in classes with more than 30 pupils, the vast majority are in classes with 31 or 32.

Regulations permit an infant class to have more than 30 pupils in extremely limited circumstances.

Lancashire was one of the pilot authorities when the class size regulations were introduced in 2012.

In Central Lancashire, less than 20 schools recorded classes of 31 key stage one pupils taught by one teacher. These included Longton Primary School and Leyland Methodist Infants, St Gregory’s in Deepdale and St Andrew’s at Ashton,Preston.

One school, Rivington Primary, near Chorley, recorded a class of 33 infant pupils.

County Coun Susie Charles (left), cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Exceptions to the class-size rule can be made in cases which meet the specific terms of the 2012 
regulations.

“There has been a rise of exceptions in the past few years, partly because twins and children of UK service personnel have now been added to the list.

“We must also comply when appeals panels decide to allow an extra child into a school when it would be unreasonable not to do so.”