Thousands of Derbyshire pupils taught in crowded classrooms

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Thousands of primary school children across Derbyshire are being taught in ‘supersize’ classes of more than 30 pupils, shock figures show.

Statistics obtained by the Derbyshire Times reveal 7,334 youngsters in Amber Valley, Bolsover, Chesterfield, the Derbyshire Dales and NE Derbyshire are crammed into classes above the legal limit.

Councillor Kevin Gillott, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, told the Derbyshire Times he needed more Government money to invest in schools.

He said: “I recognise the concern about classroom sizes but the real issue is funding.

“I currently have an annual ‘basic need’ budget of £9million for the county’s shools. Earlier this year, however, the Government approved spending £45m on a free school in London.

“My message to the Government is simple: treat children in Derbyshire more fairly.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said some of the classes in the five areas had more than one teacher.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, added: “The rise in the number of primary school pupils has been known about for a long time.

“The Government has simply not done enough to look at where those school places are going to be needed and to provide the resources and spaces for them.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We are giving local authorities £5billion to spend on new school places over this Parliament – double the amount allocated by the previous Government over an equivalent period.”

Amber Valley: 15 per cent of primary school classes have more than 30 pupils

Bolsover: 15 per cent have more than 30

Chesterfield: 20 per cent have more than 30

Derbyshire Dales: Six per cent have more than 30

NE Derbyshire: 19 per cent have more than 30

Data source: January 2014 school census