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Volume 886: debated on Monday 10 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many pre-school children are now attending playgroups in Scotland, and how many playgroups there are.

In 1973, the latest year for which figures are at present available, over 40,000 children were regularly attending 1,528 playgroups.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many firms in Scotland provide playgroups or crèche facilities for children up to five years of age of their employees; and how many places are so provided.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has about the number of universities and colleges in Scotland that provide playgroups or nursery classes for the children of students or staff, and the number of places there are.

I have no information about provision at universities. I am not aware of any provision made by colleges, apart from that mentioned in my reply to my hon. Friend's Question about provision at colleges training teachers and nursery nurses.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much financial help he gives each year to the playgroups movement in Scotland.

Grant has been paid to the Scottish Pre-School Playgroups Association on an increasing scale since 1971–72, the amount offered in the current year being £16,500. Grants to local authorities under the urban programme in respect of expenditure on playgroups are expected to amount to about £34,000 in the current year. Information is not available centrally about other expenditure by local authorities in support of playgroups, which is reckonable for rate support grant.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many training establishments for teachers or nursery nurses in Scotland run playgroups or nursery classes.

One of the colleges of education has a limited playgroup activity and another runs a nursery school. None of the further education colleges responsible for the training of nursery nurses makes direct provision of this kind.