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Education Act 2002

Section 156: Meaning of “nursery school” and “primary education”

313.This section amends the definitions of “nursery school” and “primary education” in the EA 96.

314.Section 6 of the EA 96 states that a primary school is a nursery school if it is used mainly for the purpose of providing education for children who have attained the age of two but are under compulsory school age. The purpose of the amendment is to clarify that this definition of “nursery school” includes schools which are used wholly for the provision of education for children between the ages of two and compulsory school age.

315.The general definition of primary education currently refers to full-time education suitable to the requirements of junior pupils who have not attained the age of ten years and six months. While this covers pupils below compulsory school age it does not reflect the common practice in nursery schools of offering education for either the morning or the afternoon session - nursery schools may offer education in both morning and afternoon sessions, but often to a different cohort of pupils. Some pupils under compulsory school age do attend a school full-time, for instance in the reception class of a primary school. A widening of the definition to cover part-time nursery education will recognise the prevalence of part-time education at the nursery stage.

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