HC Deb 03 July 1979 vol 969 cc519-21W
26. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the subject of nursery education.

Dr. Boyson

My noble Friend the Minister of State received a joint deputation this morning from the National Union of Teachers and the National Campaign for Nursery Education which are calling for the provision of nursery education to be made a statutory duty. Other representations have been received from various national organisations and members of the public. While the majority of correspondents have written in support of nursery education, others are opposed to its provision from public funds.

28. Mr. Temple-Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any proposals to improve the availability of education for the under-fives.

Dr. Boyson

Within the resources available, my right hon. and learned Friend would like to improve the availability of education for the under-fives, and he will particularly encourage the use of spare primary school classrooms as the numbers of school age children decline.

29. Mr. Hicks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the rate of progress in providing nursery education; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. Boyson

At present, about 17 per cent. of 3- and 4-year-olds are in nursery schools and classes. A further 18 per cent. are in the reception classes of primary schools. Future progress depends on the resources that can be made available by central and local government, and the priority that can be attached to nursery education when considering other demands on these resources.

32. Mr. Eastham

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of places provided in nursery education by each of the Greater Manchester local education authorities.

Dr. Boyson

In January 1978, the latest date for which information is available, the numbers of pupils receiving full-time or part-time nursery education in maintained nursery schools or in nursery classes in maintained primary schools in each local education authority in Greater Manchester were as follows:

Bolton 1,954
Bury 429
Manchester 5,808
Oldham 1,034
Rochdale 1,413
Salford 1,793
Stockport 736
Tameside 1,228
Trafford 522
Wigan 1,371

47. Mr. Race

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what will be the total number of children aged under five who will not now benefit from nursery education following the cuts in capital spending on the under-fives announced in the Budget and who would have done so if the plans contained in the most recent public expenditure White Paper had been implemented.

Dr. Boyson

Allocations to local education authorities under my Department's annual nursery education building programme take the form of a lump sum, which authorities are free to use as they think best. The number of new places that will be provided in any one year cannot therefore be predicted accurately. It is estimated, however, that something in the region of 2,000 fewer places could result from the reductions in the 1979–80 building programme allocations although the effects of the reductions could be reduced if authorities bear in mind our advice that they should wherever possible use surplus primary school classrooms with a minimum of adaptations.