Early Years Education

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th April 1999.

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Photo of Ms Julia Drown Ms Julia Drown Labour, South Swindon 12:00 am, 29th April 1999

What steps have been taken to support early years education and quality child care through pre-schools and playgroups. [81532]

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) (Employment and Equal Opportunities)

I am delighted to put on record the Government's support for pre-schools in the expansion of early years education and quality child care. Pre-schools and playgroups contribute to good quality early education and child care through local early years development and child care plans. The Government have recently announced up to £500,000 in grants to support good pre-schools and playgroups in temporary financial difficulty, and an independent review to identify any barriers that prevent pre-schools and playgroups from developing their role.

Photo of Ms Julia Drown Ms Julia Drown Labour, South Swindon

My constituents welcome the Government's investment in early years education. However, pre-schools and playgroups still have to fund-raise and apply for lottery grants to improve their services. Will my hon. Friend assure my constituents that the Government's commitment to improving child care and early years provision will continue as long as they are in power?

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) (Employment and Equal Opportunities)

The answer, clearly, is yes. We hope that the pre-school movement will be able to play its part in ensuring that every child in this country gets the best possible start to their educational experience.