HUNDREDS of pupils are being crammed into classes of 36 pupils or more, figures show.

Teachers’ union National Education Union, which has collated the figures, says that class sizes in parts of Bolton are amongst the largest in the country.

More than 500 pupils are being taught in class sizes of 36 or more. In Bolton North East 372 pupils are being taught in classes of 36 or more and in Bolton South East that figure is 199, says the union.

Bolton North East is among the top 20 constituencies with the largest primary classes ­— with an average of 28.9 children in a class. The European average is 20 pupils.

And the 20 areas which have experienced the largest increase in class sizes include Bolton West.

In Bolton West, primary school classes have risen from an average of 26.9 in 2010 to 28 in the last academic year, and in secondary school the figures are 20.2 to 22.9 in the same time period.

Julie Hilling, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Bolton West, said: “As a youth worker and school governor I saw the harm overcrowded classrooms do to children’s development."

Conservative candidate Chris Green's office has been approached for a comment.

Nationally, the figures show that almost one million pupils are now in school classes of 31 or more, up almost 30 per cent since 2011.

They also show that 20,000 more students are in classes of 36-plus than eight years ago.

Joint general secretary of the NEU, Dr Mary Bousted, blamed the statistics on a “real-terms funding crisis” in education.

Teachers want the next Government to prioritise reducing class sizes, with 34 per cent of those polled choosing it as their top priority when questioned.

Dr Bousted, who grew up in Bolton, said: “The real-terms funding crisis has had catastrophic effects, including a direct impact on class size.

"Today’s analysis will ring true for every parent who has witnessed their school cutting teaching assistant posts, reducing subject choice or organising fundraiser events and begging letters.

“Parents are no fools. They can see with their own eyes the impact of funding pressures on their children’s education and the reduction in individual contact time that their child has with their teachers.”