HL Deb 01 July 1985 vol 465 cc949-50
Lord Milverton

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied that the training by the Nursery Nurse Education Board receives adequate recognition in society.

Baroness Cox

My Lords, recognition of the National Nursing Examination Board certificate is a matter for public and private sector employers of nursery nurses and for higher education institutions. However, it should in general reflect the educational content of the course.

Lord Milverton

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for her reply. Does she consider it absolutely essential that a nursery teacher for children under five should have a degree? Would she not consider it desirable that those who have the NNEB qualification should be able to exercise their responsibility, to which their training has fitted and suited them, and to have charge of children under five rather than, as at present, just to be assistants?

Baroness Cox

My Lords, I understand that the NNEB holds firmly to the view that access to training should not be determined purely by academic ability measured by previous examination success, but rather by a far broader range of abilities and personal qualities needed for success in a course of such vocational training, and I think that it puts great store on the personal characteristics of applicants. With regard to the second of my noble friend's supplementary questions, certificate holders at the moment go on to work mainly in the following areas: at private homes as nannies, as assistants or ancillaries in nursery schools or nursery classes, in day nurseries or family centres run by local authority social services departments and in hospitals as assistant nurses, mainly in paediatric wards and in special care baby units.

Baroness Faithfull

My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the NNEB course gives very good basic training in the care of mothers and young children, but that it perhaps does not attract the widest number of people because there is no career structure, in that the NNEB course does not admit a qualification to further education or further courses in child care?

Baroness Cox

My Lords, I would indeed agree with the points made by my noble friend. The NNEB course gives a very good training. My noble friend may be interested to know that it often attracts students who have qualifications above the requisite minimum. But of course it leads at the moment to the qualification but not to opportunities to pursue other courses in higher education. This is why there has been some consideration and discussion of the possibility of pilot schemes which might, under a B. Tech. validation, allow access to higher qualifications.

Baroness David

My Lords, is it possible to do any sort of in-service training after having qualified and taken the NNEB course, in order that those who have it can go on to other areas and have more responsibility in nursery schools, nursery classes or day nurseries? If so, who would pay for that in-service training?

Baroness Cox

My Lords, as I understand at the moment, the NNEB validation is the qualification in itself. Of course opportunities for further continuing education are available to people who hold that qualification, but I think there is nothing specific provided for them in the context of that particular occupation.

Lord Leatherland

My Lords, while not deprecating in any way the activities of the National Nursing Examination Board, may I ask the noble Baroness whether she thinks that there is still something to be said for the old-fashioned nanny?

Baroness Cox

Indeed, I do, my Lords.

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