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Welsh government launches fund to reduce infant class sizes

26/01/2017 Joanna

The government of Wales is taking steps to ensure that infant school pupils can be taught in smaller groups, as a means of improving the standard of education available across the country.

A £36 million fund has been introduced to help reduce infant class sizes, with money to be directed at the frontline and starting with the largest class sizes, with a particular focus on classes where teaching and learning standards need to improve, or where high levels of deprivation have been recorded.

Revenue and capital funding will both be made available over the next four years until 2021, responding to concerns raised by parents and teachers about class sizes in early-years education.

The latest figures show that 7.6 per cent of infant pupils in Wales - or 8,196 individual children - are in classes with more than 30 students, which could be stopping them from receiving the quality of teaching and one-to-one interaction they require to excel during these formative years.

The Welsh government has considered these figures and examined international evidence before announcing the new fund, which is designed to make sure every child in Wales has access to the same educational opportunities.

Education secretary Kirsty Williams said: "There is a positive connection between smaller classes and attainment, particularly for pupils from poorer backgrounds. This is most significant for younger children, which is why we are targeting this investment at infant class sizes.

"This announcement, linked to our other reforms, will create the space for teachers to teach and for pupils to learn."

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