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Department for Education written question – answered on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 February 2019 to Question 223144, which Minister is responsible for policy on play services for children aged six and over which is not part of the early years foundation stage statutory framework; and how much funding the Government allocated in support for play for children in (a) after-school clubs, (b) holiday play schemes, (c) adventure playgrounds and (d) play-ranger services in the last three years for which that information is available.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

I am the minister responsible for children and families. The information on how much government funding is allocated in support of play for children in (a) after-school clubs, (b) holiday play schemes, (c) adventure playgrounds and (d) play-ranger services is not held centrally.

As outlined below, the department has invested millions of pounds in enabling all children to access and benefit from a range of enriching activities outside of school.

In the 2018 summer holidays we awarded £2 million to 7 organisations to ensure that disadvantaged children in some of the most deprived areas in the country could access free healthy food and enriching activities. In the 2019 summer holidays we will invest up to £9 million to explore how the local coordination of this sort of provision can help more disadvantaged children to access high quality programmes during the school holidays.

We have invested £22 million for the academic years 2017/18 and 2018/19 to enable disadvantaged children and young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities (including after school and holiday provision) which will enable them to develop essential life skills and get the best start in life.

This Essential Life Skills (ELS) programme is targeting disadvantaged children and young people aged 5-18 across 12 Opportunity Areas. Within each Opportunity Area, local authorities are receiving grants to develop their own ELS programme to meet the needs of pupils and young people in their communities. It is up to the local partnership board in each Opportunity Area to decide what programmes and activities best meet the needs of children and young people in the area.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is formally responsible for ensuring local authorities secure services for young people over the age of 13 as set out in the section 507b of the Education Act (1996) (below that age local authorities have discretion). However, a number of DCMS programmes such as #iwill and the Youth Investment Fund do support organisations that provide 'youth and play' programmes to a broader age range than that provided for in the act.

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