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School Starting Age

Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if she will list the education authorities in England and Wales, showing where children were normally able to start school below the statutory age in autumn 1976 and where they could not expect to start until the statutory age;(2) which education authorities are having to stop taking children into school below the statutory age as a result of the rate support grant cuts.

Information about the ages of children attending school is collected in January each year. In January 1976, the latest date for which information is available all local education authorities in England offered some school places to children below compulsory school age. I have no information about local authorities' intentions in this respect for the current financial year but, as I told the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker) on 24th March—[Vol. 928, c. 621–2]—the number of under-fives in school is not expected to decline nationally.

Primary education in Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.