§ Q44. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on Government policy towards the provision of education for the under-fives.
§ The Prime Minister
It is for local education authorities to determine the scale and nature of the provision in their area for those below compulsory school age, in the light of local needs and priorities and the availability of resources. Chapter 4 of "Better Schools" sets out the Government's policy on the education of the under-fives, including resources. Current participation rates and actual numbers of under fives in school are the highest ever. Overall, some 80 per cent. of children are in school before they are five; excluding "rising fives", 22 per cent. of 3 and 4-year-olds now attend maintained nursery classes or nursery schools and 21 per cent. attend primary reception classes; and a significant contribution to pre-school experience is also made by playgroups, which are attended by some 40 per cent. of 3 and 4-year olds.