Class sizes 'will rise without extra staff'

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The Independent Online
SCHOOLS need to employ 8,500 more teachers in the next three years to avoid a big increase in class sizes, according to a confidential briefing by civil servants for a meeting today.

The report, leaked to Stephen Byers, Labour MP for Wallsend, gives the first official warning that class sizes will increase sharply unless schools receive more money to employ teachers.

It says 6,710 teachers will be needed next year (1994/95) to stop the pupil-teacher ratio worsening. This week, heads said the ratio in primary schools was at its worst for 10 years.

The paper, from civil servants and local authority officials, will be presented to John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, at a meeting to discuss local government spending.

It says pounds 170m will be needed to provide 3,190 primary teachers and 3,520 secondary teachers for 1994/95, and adds: 'The figures show that, quite apart from new pressures, a further 8,500 teachers will be needed by 1996/97 simply to cope with the demographic trend.'

The Joint Association of Classical Teachers has appealed to Sir Ron Dearing, head of the Government's curriculum review, to save Latin from extinction by restricting the national curriculum to between 60 and 70 per cent of the timetable. Classics is not one of the 10 compulsory subjects.