asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the number and proportion of children entering school who have previously attended a pre-school playgroup.
The Department does not collect information on playgroup attendance, but the Pre-School Playgroups Association estimates that, in 1984, some 33 per cent. of three and four-year-olds attended pre-school playgroups.
Has my hon. Friend had time to study the evidence submitted by the Pre-School Playgroups Association to the Select Committee on Education and Science in which it documented its work on the important transition from home to school? Has he noted the emphasis that it puts on collaboration with parents, the community and volunteers?
I shall undertake to do just that. The research project by Professor Neville Butler of Bristol university has just been completed. The research concerned the association of pre-school educational experience with later cognitive development, educational achievement and behavioural adjustment. I understand that it included children with pre-school playgroup experience.