Board of Education and successors: Medical Branch and Special Services Branch: Local Education Authority Nursery Education, Registered Files (N Series)
Registered files of the Board of Education and successors, Medical Branch and Special Services Branch concerning the provision of local education authority nursery education under s.19 of the Education Act 1918.
The papers include proposals by local education authorities and voluntary bodies to establish nursery schools and classes for children between the ages of 2 and 5, memoranda on nursery school provision in particular areas, and the results of a survey made by local authorities at the request of the Board of Education in 1936.
Records concerning the provision of nursery schools for the children of women war workers are also included.
Sample files from just five local education authorities have been preserved from the period 1956-1966: these concern two (rural) counties, Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire; London; and two county boroughs, Barnsley and Bootle.
The following file was missing at transfer: Essex: Colchester Borough Council N.167L
The files are arranged by English counties, English county boroughs, Welsh counties and Welsh county boroughs, with this sequence repeating for successive transfers.
Board of Education, Medical Branch, 1923-1944
Department of Education and Science, Special Services Branch, 1964-1970
Ministry of Education, Medical Branch, 1944-1948
Ministry of Education, Special Services Branch, 1948-1964
Local education authorities were empowered under section 19 of the Education Act 1918, re-enacted as sections 21 and 119 of the Education Act 1921, to supply, or aid the supply of, nursery schools and classes for children between the ages of two and five years.
Regulations for nursery schools (Grant Regulation No. 6) were issued in 1919 indicating the conditions under which the Board of Education would recognise such schools for the purposes of grant. A new and simplified set of Regulations for Nursery Schools was issued in 1925 (Grant Regulations No. 19).
Several voluntary nursery schools in existence in 1918 were recognised for grant purposes. The number of nursery schools was, however, slow to increase during the next fifteen years or so, largely due to recurring financial crises, although a joint circular issued by the Board of Education and the Ministry of Health (Circular 1405) in 1929 had urged local authorities to make a new effort to deal with the 'problem of the start of child life'.
A report was issued in 1933 by the Consultative Committee on Infants and Nursery Schools and in 1936 local education authorities were asked to survey the need for provision for children under the age of 5 years (Circular 1444). Many nursery schools were closed at the outbreak of war in 1939 whilst some transferred to rural areas were conducted as residential nurseries for evacuated children.
Wartime nurseries were set up in areas selected by the Ministry of Labour and, if HM Inspector approved, the local education authority's proposals were eligible for 100% grant from the Ministry of Health.
Subsequent to the Education Act 1944, Circular 75 (December 1945) requested local education authorities to assume, where possible, responsibility for the day nurseries started during the war. Many of the papers between 1945 and 1955 are joint reports on nurseries by HM Inspectors and public health nursing officers.
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