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BLUNKETT ADMITS ONLY 'MARGINAL' IMPROVEMENT IN PUPIL-TEACHER RATIOS

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David Blunkett, the education secretary, has admitted that pupil-teacher ratios have improved 'only marginally' sin...
David Blunkett, the education secretary, has admitted that pupil-teacher ratios have improved 'only marginally' since Labour came to power, reports The Daily Mail (p17).

He said that while primary classes had shrunk slightly there were now 71,000 more secondary pupils and 2,000 more juniors in classes of more than 30.

The minister told ITV's Dimbleby programme: 'We have reduced the proportion of large classes for the first time in 10 years. The pupil-teacher ratio has improved - only marginally, but marginally.'

He also pointed out that the improvement had come after two years of 'fairly tight' funding. Mr Blunkett said the while Labour's manifesto promised to cut class sizes for five-to-seven year olds to under 30, the party had been aware that secondary school class sizes would go up.

Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat education spokesman, said: 'To pay for smaller class sizes for children aged five, six and seven, headteachers are having to increase class sizes elsewhere in the school. You can't say that for seven-year-olds class sizes of under 30 are important, but for eight-year-olds they aren't.'

Theresa May, the Tory education spokeskwoman, said: 'Nursery, junior and secondary school class sizes have all gone up. It's important that large classes aren't just shunted up the school.'

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