§ Mr. Sillars
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many areas of Scotland he has been able to identify as socially and educationally deprived; and how many children attend primary and secondary schools in these areas;
(2) how many areas of Lanarkshire he has been able to identify as socially and educationally deprived; and how many children attend primary and secondary schools in these areas;
(3) how many whole-time nursery school places are available per 100 children in the areas of educational priority;11W
(4) how many educational priority areas exist in Scotland; what is his estimate of the number of children of school age covered by these areas; and how many of these areas are on Clydeside;
(5) what policies of positive discrimination are now applied to favour schools serving educational priority areas.
§ Mr. McElhone
No areas in Scotland have been formally identified by the central Government as socially and educationally deprived, or designated as "educational priority areas". The latter was a term applied to four localities in England and one in Scotland which were the subject of a research programme some years ago.
It is open to any education authority to concentrate available resources on an area which the authority considers to be in need of special help. A circular drawing attention to the publication of the report on the Dundee EPA project in 1974 pointed out that most of the measures tried in Dundee were within the discretion of education athorities to adopt if they wished. I understand that authorities operate a wide variety of measures to help schools in areas of need.
Authorities were asked to give priority to areas of social need, and did in fact do so, in the early years of the programme for the expansion of nursery education. In addition they may apply for grant under the urban programme for educational projects in areas of special social need.