asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many children are now in local education authority nursery classes in (a) England and (b) Wales; and
How many nursery classes there are in (a) England and (b) Wales; and
What is their estimate of the number of pre-school playgroups in (a) England and (b) Wales.
The information is not available in the form requested.
There were 331,300 children in maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained primary schools in England in January 2003. The number of maintained primary schools in England with nursery classes was 6,400. The number of maintained nursery schools in England was 475. The latest figures on provision for three and four year-olds in England were published in a statistical bulletin Provision for children under five years of age in England—January 2003 which is available on the department's website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.
The department's best estimate of the number of pre-school playgroups in England as at January 2003 is 10,100.
Information on early years education in Wales is a matter for the Education Department of the Assembly for Wales.