Jeremy Corbyn has switched Labour's campaign focus to the issue of "super-sized" school classes as he warned that too many children are being “crammed into classrooms like sardines”.
The Labour leader launched a scathing attack on the Tories education record as campaigning ahead of the General Election on June 8 heats up, as he claimed schools have been left "in a terrible state" by the current government.
Mr Corbyn said Labour analysis of Department for Education figures show more than 40,000 primary school children were taught in classes of 36 or more pupils in 2016, up by 1,500 from the previous year, and 6,655 primary pupils were being taught in class sizes of 40 or greater.
Tories said Mr Corbyn's comments were "a massive own goal" and pointed out that the Labour-led Welsh government had overseen increases in class sizes in Wales too.
Mr Corbyn, who is due to speak in Wales on Friday, said the government was to blame for the current rise in class sizes and stated that cuts to education budgets would only make the problem worse.
He said : "Seven years of Tory failure and broken promises have left our schools in a terrible state.
"Hundreds of thousands of our children are paying the price, crammed into classrooms like sardines.
"The Prime Minister herself has said that super-sized classes are proof of a school system in a crisis. And that's what we've got on the Tories' watch."
Tory officials said the party was "not complacent" and was "spending a record amount on schools" to improve the service.
A spokesman said: "Of course we are not complacent about the situation in England. There is more to do and that's why we are spending a record amount on schools - something we can afford to do because of our careful management of the nation's finances.
"The biggest risk for our schools and our children is throwing away the economic progress we have made. That's what would happen if we had Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, propped up by a coalition of chaos with the Lib Dems and SNP"