YEP Says, September 6: Class size crisis lays bare folly of school closure programme

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...and why it would be mad to ending army-style training of young offenders

IT would be wrong to claim that children cannot receive a good education if they find themselves in a large class at school.

But the chances of youngsters fulfilling their full potential plunge when they are competing with 62 other children for their teacher’s attention.

That was the situation at one point at one school in Leeds with the city seeing a 313 per cent increase in the number of pupils attending classrooms above the previous 30-pupil legal limit in the last four years.

The reason for this overcrowding is quite simple. There aren’t enough places in our schools for the numbers of children attending them.

The policy of closing schools due to alleged lack of need in order to save money has been shown to be a colossal blunder – one which this city’s education bosses were as guilty of as anyone.

Financial constraints have also been a factor. The previous Labour government’s ambitious, some might say foolhardy, Building Schools for the Future programme had to be shelved when the money ran out.

But the fact remains that the present Government has been too slow to recognise this crisis in our children’s classrooms and respond to it.

Free schools may be popular with some, but most families simply want their children to go to their nearest local school and be in a class of 30 or fewer children where they are able to get on and learn.

Ending of army-style course spells disaster

TALK about a false economy. The possible axing of an army-style training programme at a local young offender institution to save cash will simply make prison officers’ jobs harder.

The course at Wetherby instils much-needed discipline and teaches inmates skills that will serve them well for a life on the right side of the law.

Officers fear if it ends, reoffending rates could rise.

Rather than being shelved, there is an argument to say that this scheme should be extended.

Not just to every young offenders’ institution but wherever youngsters need help to stay on the straight and narrow.


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