Nursery Classes

These are relatively new within the last few years. They are becoming very widespread and are likely to become more so as the 1972 White Paper is implemented.

Usually a classroom within an infant school or may be a special building away from the main school but within its grounds. In a few cases it may be an annexe which appears to be separate.

The nursery class is part of the main school thus the infant school headmistress is in charge of this class in the same way as those for the older children. The headmistress may be a nursery-trained teacher but this is unlikely. The teacher in charge of the class is most often a nursery-trained teacher or may be a trained teacher who has completed a short ‘conversion’ course. In a very few cases she may be a teacher trained only for another age group. There should be an assistant who may be a trained nursery nurse or has had some other relevant training. Occasionally an assistant may not have had special training. There are some rules, regulations and advisable procedures but this is one of the aspects of nursery education which is very much at the ‘melting-pot’stage.

This again is a melting-pot situation. There are likely to be twenty-six children but some authorities are considering having more than this. The ratio of adults to children will be one to thirteen or more.

These are similar to those of the nursery school.

On the whole activities should be similar to the nursery school but undoubtedly what is happening within the infant class sometimes influences the nursery class. Children may attend assembly or take part in ‘big’ school functions. Early formal skills may be introduced just as some nursery activities may be found in the reception or first-year infant class. The White Paper indicates that children under five years should be in a nursery-type environment rather than a school atmosphere.

Nursery~class children may be from three to five years but very often children do not have a place in the nursery class until they are four. Some classes will have in them children over five who are waiting to go into the reception class, especially in areas where schools have only one intake per year. Thus the average age in nursery classes is likely to be higher than that found in the nursery school.

As for nursery schools, parents have no direct responsibility for the running of the nursery class.

The involvement of parents varies here too, but where there is a Parent-Teacher Association it will be concerned with the whole school rather than just the nursery class.

There are no fees as for the nursery school.

Other State provision for under-fives include:

Special Education Facilities

The education authorities should provide special facilities for handicapped children under school age but this varies a great deal depending on the local authority.