High Peak class sizes “unfair” on pupils

Caitlin Bisknell blames the government for supersize class sizes in High Peak. Photo contirbuted.
Caitlin Bisknell blames the government for supersize class sizes in High Peak. Photo contirbuted.

Council leader Caitlin Bisknell has hit out at crowded classrooms in High Peak, after it was revealed that almost 14 per cent of primary school classes contained more than 30 pupils.

Figures obtained by The Advertiser about the previous academic year showed that 39, of the 273 primary classes in the borough, were ‘supersize’.

The most populated class recorded was in Hadfield, at St Andrew’s CE Junior School, which had a key stage two class of 39 pupils.

While, Gamesley Community Primary School and Hadfield Infant School each recorded a crowded class size of 36 in key stage two and early years, respectively.

Cllr Caitlin Bisknell said: “As a school governor, I am well aware of the budget pressures that schools are under and the difficulties around keeping class sizes down especially when numbers vary from one year group to the next.

“I therefore understand that in some year groups, some schools may need to allow class sizes to creep over 30. However, class sizes of 34 and certainly 36 or more, are unacceptable. It is not good for teaching or learning and is unfair on both pupils or staff.

The Labour councillor, who also sits on the county council, added: “Instead of spending money setting up new free schools the government should be tackling overcrowding by focussing spending on areas in need of extra places.”

While High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said: “Obviously there is increased pressure on school places as a result of demographic trends over the last decade, which is why the Government is giving local authorities a total £5 billion to spend on new school places over this Parliament. This is double the amount allocated by the previous Government over the same period. As part of the ruling group on Derbyshire County Council, which decides which areas will get extra money for school places, Cllr Bisknell could be using her efforts to ensure that High Peak schools get their fair share of this government funding; it’s a shame that she seems more intent on making political points.”