The other problem, she says, is that when routine scalp inspections were introduced as part of the 1944 Education Act (leading to the establishment of an army of "Nitty Nora" nurses whose job it was to examine thousands of schoolchildren on a regular basis), parents stopped taking responsibility for the problem.
"Before that, lice were a problem that parents had to deal with – the knowledge was there in families, and if they were discovered people knew how to get rid of them," she says. "But that knowledge has disappeared. In fact, she maintains, "Nitty Noras" were spectacularly ineffective in detecting head lice infestations. "They were a complete waste of time. They couldn't possibly hope to detect the lice in every child's hair – they missed most of them."I really can't add to that. If your child has nits, blame 'Rab' Butler.