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Child Care

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he will make the initiative announced on 17 June on improving access to affordable and quality child care available to parents in Dudley North; and if he will make: a statement. [123426]

We announced a number of initiatives on 17 June all of which will benefit parents in the Dudley North Constituency.

  • Funding for the "childminder buddying scheme" will be available from April 2004.
  • Childcare Partnership Managers are now available in each Jobcentre Plus district.
  • Quality First is available for childminders who wish to develop their child care capabilities.
  • Care to Learn is available for all teenage parents who wish to take part in publicly funded education or training.
  • The foundation stage information packs will be available from EYDCPs after 18 July.
New sure start guide to choosing child care is available from Daycare Trust on 0207 840 3350.These initiatives supplement others which are available throughout the country to support our aims of providing affordable, quality child care for all parents. They include the child care element of the new working tax credit, which builds on the success of the child care tax credit to support working parents by adding greater flexibility and an extension of the range of eligible child care; and the expansion of free, part-time early years education, which is available to all 4-years-olds and will be available to all 3-year-olds from April 2004. In addition, developments in out of school care including before and after school and during weekends and holidays are making a real difference for children and their families. While the focus of these clubs is care for the children outside the school day, the provision is also about positive play and learning experiences. We launched extended schools through the Education Act 2002, giving schools the powers to provide community facilities, including child care. Child care in schools provides safe, accessible child care for children attending the school and children in the wider community.These initiatives will help break the cycles of poverty and make sure that each child has an equal opportunity to succeed at school and in later life.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many child care places have been created in (a) Stoke, South constituency and (b) Stoke-on-Trent Unitary Authority since 1997. [125623]

Figures on new child care places created have been collected quarterly from local authorities since April 1999. Between April 1999 and March 2003, our latest information, Stoke-on-Trent Unitary Authority reported the creation of a total of 2,148 new child care places. This includes 454 new places with childminders. Figures for constituencies are available for group-based child care provision but not for childminders; between April 1999 and March 2003 Stoke-on-Trent Unitary Authority reported the creation of 490 new group-based child care places in Stoke, South constituency.