The central plank of Labour's education policy is backfiring across the West Midlands, it emerged last night.
Education chiefs warned that Labour's pledge to cut primary school class sizes to fewer than 30 pupils is forcing local authorities to introduce mixed-age classes, in which five-year-olds may be taught alongside children aged seven.
The National Union of Teachers said mixed-age classes had been proved detrimental to pupils' academic development and said any moves to introduce more mixed-age classes would defeat the object of having smaller class sizes.
The warning came on the day Education Secretary Mr David Blunkett said he was confident of achieving the class size reduction for all children aged five, six and seven by September 2001.
Every teacher in England is to receive a letter and a wall chart detailing the Government's plans in the next few days.
The class size pledge was one of Labour's central General Election promises …