Corbyn tears into ‘terrible state’ of our schools and pledges a world-class education system
CHILDREN are paying the price of seven years of Tory education policy and cuts as they get “crammed into classrooms like sardines,” Jeremy Corbyn warned yesterday.
The Labour leader tore into the “terrible state” of schools under the Tories as Labour accused Prime Minister Theresa May of having “no answers to the big challenges facing Britain.”
Responding to shocking new figures revealing the extent of Britain’s classroom crisis, he promised Labour would bring class sizes down and deliver a world-class education system that works for all children, irrespective of background.
Department for Education (DfE) statistics show over 40,000 primary school children were taught in classes with 36 pupils or more last year — and a staggering 16,655 were taught in class sizes of 40-plus.
The figures revealed 109 primary schools had more than 800 pupils in 2016, up from just 16 when the Tories came to power in 2010.
Education budgets have been repeatedly slashed under the Tories with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) warning that £3 billion will have been taken out of the system by 2020.
Mr Corbyn said: “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.
“The Prime Minister herself has said that super-sized classes are proof of a school system in a crisis. That’s what we’ve got on the Tories’ watch … we cannot risk our children’s education in this way.”
And shadow education secretary Angela Rayner blasted the Tories’ “unjustified fixation” with free schools after 130 more were approved this month.
The government has relaxed rules on the founding of free schools, allowing them to be built in areas where there is no demand for places.
But Ms Rayner warned green-lighting a poorly regulated free-for-all of academy start-ups was not the answer to increasing class sizes in secondary schools and described the situation as broken and unsustainable.
“Free schools are clearly not addressing the growing pressures on schools.
“Theresa May has no answers to the big challenges facing Britain, just more of the same failed policies which will take the country backwards and make us more unequal.”
A Conservative Party spokesman claimed the government was investing a record amount in schools due to “careful management of the nation’s finances.”