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News - 12 February 2015

Labour pledges infant class size cap

The Labour leader will claim the coalition's free schools policy has contributed to a trebling in the number of 30-plus classes since 2010.

Labour is promising more school places in growing areas, while curbing free schools where they are "not needed".

The Tories said Mr Miliband's policy had "collapsed within minutes" as class sizes were already capped at 30.

A Conservative spokesman said: "Are Labour saying they will scrap sensible exceptions like those that ensure Armed Forces children get a place at primary school, or ensure that twins aren't forced apart?"

The Lib Dems, meanwhile, are pledging to protect school budgets in real terms as well as early years support.

During a visit to a school in London, Mr Miliband said that if Labour forms the next government, it will strictly enforce a cap on class sizes for five, six and seven year olds first introduced by the last Labour government.

Mr Miliband will claim that 60,000 more infants are now taught in classes of more than 30 than was the case in 2010 and if current trends are maintained, the number of classes in excess of 30 is set to reach 11,000.

A change to regulations in 2012 gave head teachers more freedom to maintain 30-plus lessons for a number of years without having to employ more teachers.

Labour says it will curb new free schools in areas where there is already adequate provision while ensuring over-subscribed schools can expand their intake.

Setting out a "better plan for education", Mr Miliband will commit Labour to driving up standards in every part of the country, every school will be "locally accountable" to a new director of standards, an idea first proposed by former education secretary David Blunkett last year, while all head teachers will be given the freedoms currently available to those running academies

Liz Kennett, Audit and Accounts Manager of ABDS, and a Schools and Charities specialist comments:
“The government has said £5bn has been spent on new school places since 2010 but a sharp jump in the birth rate and a continued increase in net migration has meant an estimated 900,000 new places will be needed over the next decade.”

David Cameron has promised a future Conservative government would protect England's schools budget in cash terms and allocate a further £7bn for school places although per pupil funding would not keep pace with inflation.

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman, Peter Ham or Liz Kennett now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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Great with people  
Clear and precise with advice
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In touch with issues that face our clients and
mindful of their long term strategic goals

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