HC Deb 20 January 1949 vol 460 c314
17. Mr. Piratin

asked the Minister of Education whether he has a target for the provision of nursery schools and nursery classes for children aged two and under five; what is the estimate for the number to be accommodated during 1949; and how does this compare with the numbers accommodated during 1948 and 1947.

Mr. Tomlinson

In drawing up their development plans authorities generally have assumed that, at any rate in urban areas, up to 50 per cent. of the children between two and five may wish to attend nursery schools or classes. I do not expect a substantial increase in the number of children in nursery schools and classes in 1949, although there are plans to provide some more schools in industrial areas.

Mr. Piratin

Cannot the Minister give a precise answer showing how many he expects in view of the fact that only about 6 per cent. of the children of these ages are being catered for in these nursery classes and schools? If more women had facilities for their children it might help industrial activity.

Mr. Tomlinson

I cannot give an estimate of the number that will be provided for but arrangements have been made that, where in industrial areas they can be of economic benefit to the country, plans for nursery schools shall go through.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is not the Minister aware that it would be much better that, where possible, children of this early age should remain at home and be looked after by their mothers?