§ Mr. Haynes
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to increase the number of nursery teachers.
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
In recent years the allocations of intake numbers to initial teacher training courses for early years (3–8) have been increased and institutions have been encouraged to increase the provision made for early years training within their allocation for primary places. The numbers recruited to such courses have nearly doubled since 1986.
Publicity literature on teacher recruitment, including that aimed at mature entrants and re-entrants, has highlighted the opportunities for early-years specialists.
Under the LEA training grants scheme, in-service training in the teaching of children in primary classes who are younger than "rising five" is a national priority area.
My hon. Friend the Minister of State is chairing a committee of inquiry on the quality of educational provision for three and four-year-olds which will be taking into account the nature of training for teachers and other professional staff involved.