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20,000 children taught in large classes.

NEARLY 20,000 primary schoolchildren in our region are being taught in classes with more than 30 pupils.

The numbers of large classes in North East primary schools were revealed yesterday by the Department for Education. It is recommended that primary class sizes do not exceed 30 and, under the former Labour Government, legislation was introduced to ban large classes for pupils aged between five and seven-years-old.

Despite this, 19,680 primary-age children from across our region are being taught in large classes and 560 five to 11-year-olds are in classes with at least 41 pupils.

In Northumberland, 1,837 primary-age children are in classes with more than 30 pupils and three classes have an average of nearly 50 pupils.

In Newcastle, 1,824 children are in a large class, which is up from 1,776 last year. In North Tyneside, 1,524 pupils are in a class with more than 30 children, as are 1,308 in South Tyneside.

A North East representative of the NUT says the rules on class sizes are "explicit" and a limit of 30 should not be exceeded, regardless of pupil age.

Vince Allen said: "The NUT has been campaigning for a limit on class sizes for both primary and secondary schools on the basis of our teachers' experiences, and from our own research which shows that small classes are, inevitably, beneficial.

"Having smaller classes provides a better learning environment, not just for the pupils but for the teachers, too."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 14, 2010
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