HC Deb 09 March 1972 vol 832 cc1626-8
6. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on her intentions with regard to the Derbyshire Education Committee's list of priority replacement of pre-1903 primary schools.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. William van Straubenzee)

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to his Question on 2nd March.—[Vol. 832, c. 167.]

Mr. Skinner

Is the Minister aware that of the 27 replacements in Derbyshire two will be in the four Labour constituencies and 25 in the Tory constituencies? I do not wish to offend the delicate skins of hon. Members opposite, but is there not a party political smell about all this?

Mr. van Straubenzee

The details of the submissions made by Derbyshire are entirely a matter for Derbyshire. Application was made by Derbyshire for 15 primary replacements to start in 1974–75. My right hon. Friend has not only indicated that she hopes to include all those; she has even invited the county to make one or two further submissions for the list. It is only because of the hon. Gentleman's helpful question that I am able to bring out these facts.

Mr. Rost

I have no doubt that my hon. Friend has his priorities right in the renewal of primary education in Derbyshire, but will he ask his right hon. Friend when she visits Derby next week to look at the Barrow-on-Trent primary school, which I understand was built in 1842 and is beginning to look like it?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am only too happy to ask my right hon. Friend almost anything. I am sure that when she visits the local education authorities that is the sort of matter which will be put to her.

14. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children below the statutory school starting age were in nursery schools at the last available date, and how many were in nursery or other classes in primary schools.

Mr. van Straubenzee

In January, 1971, the numbers in England and Wales were 36,000 and 282,000.

Mr. Marks

I appreciate the almost 50 per cent. increase over the last published figures in 1969 and I accept that the Labour Government's programme took considerable steps in this regard. However, would the right hon. Lady not agree that it is time to rescind Circular 8/60 on nursery schools? Furthermore, does she intend to increase considerably provision for the rising-fives in the near future?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for acknowledging the increase but I am not sure that I am with him on his mathematics. However, we can talk about that another time. I have no announcement to make in advance of the published announcements under the urban programme.

Miss Lestor

Can the hon. Gentleman not be more explicit about the rising-fives in primary schools? If it is part of the Government's policy to increase the facilities for the rising-fives in primary schools, accompanied by or even distinct from nursery education, does he not agree that the same regulations should apply to the under-fives in primary schools as apply to children in nursery schools, where staffing and facilities are much more generous?

Mr. van Straubenzee

That supplementary question goes rather wider than the original Question. Perhaps the hon. Lady will table a question on that aspect. The figures that I have given include 153,000 children who are rising five.