Nursery Classes and Pre-school Playgroups

House of Lords written question – answered on 11th February 2004.

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Photo of Lord Jones Lord Jones Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What further initiatives they propose to assist nursery education in (a) England and (b) Wales.

Photo of Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton of Upholland Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare), Department for Education and Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare), Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) (Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare) (also Department for Education and Science), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare) (also Department for Work and Pensions)

By April 2004, six months ahead of target, every three and four year-old is guaranteed a free part-time early education place in either the maintained, voluntary or private sector.

We are building on the well received foundation stage as part of the national curriculum and have appointed a new Foundation Stage Director to develop and deliver expert support at regional level as part of the National Primary Strategy. Together with the registration and inspection of all settings by Ofsted, this will ensure high quality nursery education for all children.

Finally, we are committed to developing Children's Centres, integrating early education with full day care, health and family support. Sixty-one Children's Centres have been approved and the Chancellor recently announced in this pre-Budget review that we will create 1,000 Children's Centres by 2008.

The position in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.

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