Back in the 1990s, Kingston primary schools had the largest class sizes in the country.
What an appalling record it was for our youngest children – to be taught in classes of 35 or more.
We have come a long way since those days – though it took some determined campaigning to get the investment we needed.
Yet thankfully, Kingston’s class sizes have fallen and pupil-teacher ratios have improved.
But to avoid going back to those bad old days of large infant classes, we need urgent action to win extra finance – the money needed to build new primary schools and expand existing primaries.
We must respond to the recent unprecedented and massive increase in demand for primary school places with permanent buildings, and not rely on temporary classrooms for long.
It’s not just Kingston that has this challenge – many London Boroughs are facing an identical rise in demand for reception class places.
That’s why I held a debate in the Commons on 3rd March on this London-wide issue – to force Ministers to take this seriously. Check out www.edwarddavey.co.uk for the debate.
I’m pleased that last week the Department for Children, Schools and Families confirmed they are reviewing the capital requirements for new primary school places, in response to my debate.
But the co-operative work I’ve set up with Kingston Council and London Councils – the body that represents all London Boroughs – must continue, till we actually secure the cash.
I doubt any permanent new classrooms can be opened before September 2011 – even to achieve that, Ministers must make decisions quickly. Until then, our cry must be “No return to large class sizes!”