Joan Ryan has welcomed Labour’s plans for education which will see greater investment to raise school standards and a cap on class sizes for 5-7 year olds – an issue of importance in Enfield given that the borough has seen a 600% increase in the number of infants in large classes (over 30), since 2010.
In January 2010, there were 62 infants in large classes in Enfield schools. By January 2014, the last set of statistics available revealed that this figure had risen to a total of 434 - an increase of 372 in four years. Over this period Enfield had seen the second highest increase in the percentage of infants in classes exceeding 30 pupils for all outer London boroughs. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of infants in large classes had risen from 3,760 to 15,795 across the capital.
Despite the Tory-led Government’s cuts to Enfield Council’s budget, the Council has made valiant efforts to alleviate some of the pressure and has opened over 1,000 additional primary school places via the first phase of its multi-million pound Primary School Expansion Programme and will have provided 1,500 new places by 2018.
Speaking on Thursday 12th February, Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, announced that a future Labour Government will:
- Increase the education budget in line with inflation.
- Cap class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 & year-olds so they are not bigger than 30 pupils for more than 12 months.
- Create the required places in high need areas to deliver the cap, including in the over-subscribed schools which parents often put as their first choice, by ending the Tory practice of creating new Free Schools in areas that do not need them.
- Issue every area with a new Standards Challenge to raise performances.
- Ensure all children are taught by qualified teachers so local parents will know that their children are getting a high-quality education.
Joan Ryan, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Enfield North, said:
“In 2010 the Tories pledged to create “small schools with small class sizes.” This is yet another broken promise from the Tory-led Government and it is children, here in Enfield, who have suffered as a result. It is impossible for the Council to create the number of school places we need to keep class sizes down, given the Government’s sustained assault on its budget.
As a former teacher, I know that smaller classes are better for learning and parents in Enfield are clear that they want smaller classes for their children. That’s why I’m backing Labour’s plans so local parents will know that their kids are receiving a high-quality education.
I’m proud that the next Labour government will cap infant class sizes at 30 pupils and increase the education budget so it rises with inflation. By investing in our education system, Labour is ensuring that local children and young people can build the long-term economic success our area needs.”