HC Deb 22 January 1985 vol 71 c852
9. Miss Maynard

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified nursery nurses are employed in nursery schools in England and Wales.

Mr. Dunn

In January 1984, in England, there were 10,639 qualified nursery nurses employed in all forms of education provision for the under-fives. Of that number, 1,836 were employed in nursery schools. Information for Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Miss Maynard

Does the Minister agree that nursery education is very valuable for both the child and the parent and that it has been shown to be cost-effective in the long term? Should not the Government be expanding nursery education rapidly in view of the empty classrooms and the large number of unemployed nursery nurses?

Mr. Dunn

I have to tell the hon. Lady that many local education authorities are using surplus classrooms to that very end. I must remind the House that it is for local education authorities to decide what education facilities to provide for the under-fives in the light of local needs and resources and their own local priorities.