HC Deb 03 December 1998 vol 321 cc242-3W
Mr. Willis

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if, where a child is admitted in the final term, as an agreed exception under the Regulations of the School Standards and Framework to a reception infant class that already has 30 pupils, it will be mandatory to reduce the class size maximum to 30 in the following year; and what advice local education authorities will be given on compliance with the legislation. [61824]

Ms Estelle Morris

There are two general sets of circumstances in which a child will be treated as an excepted pupil and not count towards the infant class size limit of 30 pupils for every qualified teacher, to apply from the start of the 2001–2002 school year—

  1. (1) where a child is admitted to the school in certain specified circumstances that could not have been anticipated in planning, for example where he moves into the area outside a normal admission round and cannot find a place at any other suitable school; and
  2. (2) where a child, who is normally educated in a special school or in a unit in a mainstream school for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), attends a mainstream class.

The first set of exceptions applies only for the remainder of the school year in which the child was first admitted—even where the child was admitted during the final term of that year. The second set of exceptions enables those pupils to gain the benefit of attending mainstream classes and will be permitted beyond the school admission year—at any time when those pupils attend the infant classes at the mainstream school or outside the special unit. Thus it will only be mandatory to reduce the class size maximum to 30 in the following year if the exception is one within the first group.

On 9 September 1998, the Department for Education and Employment sent guidance (and copies of the relevant Regulations) on the class sizes legislation to all local education authorities in England.