HC Deb 19 January 1967 vol 739 cc623-4
8. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what public provision is now made to meet the need for nursery school teachers; and what steps is he taking to increase the supply.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)

Some 20 colleges of education offer courses designed to prepare students for work with children of the nursery or nursery-infant age range. The number of students taking such courses is rising year by year, as student numbers generally expand.

Mr. Gwilym Roberts

Would my hon. Friend agree that there is an urgent need to improve facilities for nursery training and play groups, and would he seriously consider the provision of special grants to areas like South Bedfordshire, where there is a phenomenally high birth rate?

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

I am sure that we are all in agreement with the general purpose of my hon. Friend's supplementary Question. This is a matter of priority. We have to attend to the equally, if not more, pressing needs of the infant school range. But we are doing everything we can to encourage, within the limits of our resources, the kind of advance my hon. Friend indicated.