§ 4. Mr. Dugdale
asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware of the shortage of nursery school places in the west Midlands; and what proposals he has to make by which this shortage can be overcome.
§ Sir D. Eccles
Yes, Sir. There is a demand for additional nursery school plains in many parts of the country but the shortage of women teachers for the primary schools makes it impossible to 1489 contemplate increased employment of qualified teachers in nursery schools and classes at the present time.
§ Mr. Dugdale
While welcoming the fact that the Minister at least recognises the seriousness of the position, may I ask whether he is not aware that his Answer, which is virtually that he expects to be able to do nothing at all owing to the shortage of teachers, will be received with great regret? Is he aware, for example, that in West Bromwich, with a primary school population of 10,000, there are only 70 nursery school places and that in Wolverhampton, with a primary school population of 15,000, there are only 55 places? Is the Minister aware that with smaller families and a large number of people living in new estates which are isolated, the need for nursery schools is even greater than in the past?
§ Mrs. White
Is the Minister aware that where a private school was started recently, no fewer than eight trained nursery school teachers volunteered to serve in it who were not prepared to teach in primary schools and that many women who will not take large classes in primary schools would teach in nursery schools?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is very great concern in most pants of the west Midlands about the question and also about the delay in implementing the school building programme? Will he undertake to look at the whole question and ascertain what can be done to improve the position?