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Class sizes rising in Chester warns MP

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Class sizes are rising in Chester “due to lack of funding” says Chester MP Chris Matheson.

The Chester MP has expressed concern about data released by teaching unions last month which shows that class sizes continue to rise in the majority of Chester schools.

Mr Matheson said this is a result of the government’s ongoing cuts to education funding.

He said: “In 2016 I wrote to local parents about the impact of cuts to schools in their area.

“Despite assurances from the government, these figures released in March show that their promises are empty, and they are failing young people in our city.”

He added: “Nationally there is a particular problem in secondary schools because of a shortfall of £500m a year in funding for 11-16 year olds, between 2015 and 2020.

“There have also been deep cuts to sixth form funding, which equates to over 17% per pupil since 2010.

Chris continued: “In Chester, 70% of primary and secondary schools have increased their class sizes in the last two years. This is totally unacceptable.

“I won’t stand back and let these cuts happen. The average cut in income for Chester schools since 2015/16 is just over £97,000, with some secondary schools taking a hit of over £300,000.

“You only get one chance at school – we need to be investing in young people and giving them the best chance to thrive.”

A Department for Education spokesperson told Tes reporter Charlotte Santry: “We are investing an additional £1.3bn in schools funding over and above previous plans, so that spending on schools will rise from just under £41bn now to £43.5bn in 2019-20.

They added: “As the independent IFS has said, overall funding per pupil across the country will now be maintained in real terms up to 2020. We have also protected the base rate of funding for all 16-19 year old students until 2020.

“We have invested £5.8bn in school buildings, creating 735,000 places since 2010 and despite rising pupil numbers, the average class size has seen little change.

“In fact, less than 1 per cent of primary school pupils are taught in classes of 36 or more, a smaller percentage than in 2010.”

Chris will join teachers to campaign on the issue at The Cross on Saturday 21st April, between 11am and 1pm.

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