SUPPLEMENTARY MEMORANDUM FROM THE DEPARTMENT
OF EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT (DF 16)
THE COST OF THE GOVERNMENT'S INFANT CLASS
This letter provides a brief explanation of
the cost of the Government's pledge to limit infant classes to
30 pupils, as promised on 16 May.
It was suggested at the hearing that Ministers
had indicated that the cost of implementing the pledge would be
£100 million; whereas the funding actually being provided
to implement the pledge is £620 million.
We understand that £100 million was a broad
estimate, made for the Labour Party before the 1997 general election,
of the annual revenue cost of delivering the pledgethe
annual cost to local education authorities (LEAs) of supporting
the additional teachers needed to limit infant classes to 30 pupils.
They also recognised that the savings from the assisted places
scheme (APS) would amount to £180 million a year at 1997
prices once the scheme was phased out.
The revenue element within the £620 million
amounts to some £420 million, spread over four financial
years, from 1998-99 to 2001-02 inclusive. Revenue funding has,
in addition, been made available to enable LEAs to implement the
pledge by this Septemberone academic year before the limit
of 30 becomes law in September 2001. We estimate that the long-term
revenue cost of maintaining infant classes of 30 or below will
be some £160 million a year, which would be met from APS
The estimate did not include capital costs.
Ministers decided after the election that the initiative should
be pursued in such a way that would enhance parental preference,
by enabling popular schools to expand. Capital funding available
for extra classrooms amounts to £200 million, spread over
the same four financial years.
P A Shaw
Department for Education and Employment