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Volume 975: debated on Tuesday 11 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy towards the social and educational value of facilities for the rising-fives; and what guidance he has given to local education authorities about recognising the value of nursery education when assessing priorities in educational budgets.

My right hon. and learned Friend recognises the benefits of an early start to education for young children. His policy is therefore to encourage local authorities to provide nursery education for the under-fives and to admit rising-fives to primary schools wherever they are able to do so. Our calculations for the rate support grant settlement for 1980–81 assume that local authorities will maintain their expenditure on the under-fives at about the present level. This information is contained in the 1980–81 expenditure White Paper, Cmnd. 7746.