1. ITV Report

Junior classes of more than 30 pupils quadruples in five years

The average class size in Wales last year was 25.6. Credit: PA Images

The number of junior classes in Welsh schools with more than 30 pupils has quadrupled in the past five years.

Official government statistics from July 2018 show that in 2017/18 there were 181 classes across Wales with more than 30 pupils, compared to 44 classes in 2013/14.

Number of infant classes with more than 30 pupils in 2017/18
Number of infant classes with more than 30 pupils in 2013/14

In 2013, the Welsh Government made it unlawful for infant schools to have one teacher in a Reception, Year 1 or 2 class in charge of 30 pupils or more, apart from certain 'statutory exceptions'.

Average class size in Wales 2017/18
Average class size in Wales 2012/13

The figures were released by the Assembly’s research service after a request by a Plaid Cymru AM.

Llyr Gruffydd AM, the Plaid Cymru shadow education secretary, said 'promises' are being broken.

This is a disturbing trend that is affecting more and more pupils in Wales. One in seven children in junior schools in Wales are being taught in classes of more than 30 if we include the ‘excepted’ pupils. The average size of primary school classes is increasing, placing greater pressure on teachers.

Children, their parents and teaching professionals deserve much more than empty promises that are being broken on a daily basis in our schools.

– Llyr Gruffydd AM

However, the Welsh Government says it is funding initiatives to reduce class sizes.

The latest data shows that the majority of infant (91.9%) and junior age (84.9%) pupils in Wales continue to benefit from class sizes of 30 or fewer.

We are pleased the average infant class size in Wales remained the same as last year at 25.6 pupils. This puts us in a good position to start driving that number down through initiatives such as the £36m Reducing Infant Class Sizes Grant.

Although there is no class size limit for junior classes the Welsh Government has set out its expectation, that junior classes contain no more than 30 pupils. Funding has been made available for this purpose and has subsequently been transferred into Revenue Support Grant.

– A Welsh Government spokesperson