Wales politics

Cut infant classes to 25, say Welsh Liberal Democrats

Pupils

Infant classes would be cut to no more than 25 pupils under a Welsh Liberal Democrat government, the party has said.

Announcing the policy, they said more than 70,000 pupils in Wales were taught in classes of over 25, or 59% of all infant classes.

Education spokesman Aled Roberts AM said teachers would have more time with individual children and lesson quality would improve.

Classes can have up to 30 pupils.

Mr Roberts said it was about giving teachers "time to do what they do best: teach", adding: "The Welsh Liberal Democrats would work to ensure that infant classes normally contain no more than 25 pupils, prioritising the largest classes first.

"We would invest in more teachers, to give them the time to focus on a child's individual needs which we believe is central to raising standards.

"The average class size in Wales is higher than nearly all other developed countries. That simply isn't good enough and our pupils deserve better."

'Well received'

The National Union of Teachers Cymru hoped the policy would lead to a "wider debate" about class sizes ahead of next year's assembly elections.

Policy officer Owen Hathway said: "Infant class sizes have been slowly, but steadily, increasing over a number of years.

"This has a major impact on teachers workload and their ability to spend valuable quality time with their pupils. It has a direct impact on attainment levels.

"Creating a cap of 25 pupils is undoubtedly a proposal that will be well received by the teaching profession across Wales."

Last month, Welsh teaching union Ucac said schools had been warned to expect cuts of about 16% over the next three years, and suggested class sizes could rise as a result.

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