Cameron defends government's record on class sizes


David Cameron has defended the government's education policy after Labour claimed the number of primary school children in classes of more than 30 has doubled.

Ed Miliband said class sizes were rising, claiming that under Labour only 1.8% infants were taught in classes bigger than 30, adding; "It's doubled on his watch."

He said 240,000 extra primary school places are needed by 2014 and sought assurances the extra capacity would not be met by increasing class sizes.

The PM said the chancellor had announced funding for 500,000 additional school places in his latest Spending Review.

"So we should be able to provide those places without seeing an increase in class sizes," Mr Cameron said.

But the Labour leader claimed that one third of new schools are being built in areas with surplus places.

"Millions of pounds" are being poured into new schools where none are needed, he said, while elsewhere children will have to be taught in "Portakabins" or bigger classes.

Mr Cameron said the government has made education a priority, with spending on schools "going up not down", despite inheriting the "biggest budget deficit in peacetime history".

He claimed Mr Miliband's argument was code for Labour's opposition to free schools and accused him of taking his script from the unions - following a row over alleged trade union influence on Labour candidate selection in Falkirk.

The Labour leader said he would take no lectures on ethics by Mr Cameron who had "dinners for donors in Downing Street" and bought Andy Coulson "into the heart" of government.

The PM hit back that Mr Miliband was too weak to run his own party let alone the country.

At the beginning of the session the leaders discussed the conflict in Egypt.

Mr Cameron called for all sides to reach a peaceful settlement amid continuing violence on the streets.

A further 16 people have been killed overnight after clashes between supporters of President Mohammed Morsi and those who want him removed.

The prime minister said Britons should not travel to the country - other than Red Sea resorts - unless it is essential.

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