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Pre-School Education

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether the early years foundation stage specification included guidance on how and when children should learn to grip a pen or pencil. (251051)

The early years foundation stage includes an early learning goal that a child should use a pencil and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed. Supporting practice guidance suggests a range of activities, appropriate to their age that children can do to develop both the large and fine motor skills needed to hold a pencil and write. The guidance indicates that most children would be able to achieve this goal between 40-60 months of age.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans the Government have to assess the effects of the introduction of the early years foundation stage on childcare settings. (252059)

We are assessing the effects of the introduction of the early years foundation stage through a variety of different methods, including research and work with our colleagues in the national strategies. The results from this work will be used to identify and address any issues relating to implementation. We have also started work on the independent post-implementation review of the EYFS for 2010.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate his Department have made of the number and proportion of local authorities which did not meet their requirement to provide a sufficient supply of childcare in the latest period for which figures are available. (252073)

Since April 2008 each local authorities must secure, so far as is “reasonably practicable” sufficient childcare to allow parents in their area to work or undertake education or training leading to work.

The sufficiency duty operates progressively, with local authorities looking both to meet gaps identified in sufficiency assessments and to reduce constraints on sufficiency over time. Local authorities will, themselves, be able to test the sufficiency of childcare through their sufficiency assessments and childcare sufficiency will, of course, form part of the normal performance management arrangements for local authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to the answer of 16 October 2008, Official Report, column 1495W, on pre-school education, how many and what proportion of children in the 30 per cent. most deprived areas of each local authority were working securely within the 13 assessment areas of the foundation stage profile in each year since 2005. (252076)

Information is only readily available for seven of the 13 assessment scales; these are personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy. Further information on the proportion of children working securely within the additional six assessment scales and for earlier years can be compiled and checked only at a disproportionate cost.

The latest published foundation stage profile results for children working securely in these seven scales, in the 30 per cent. most deprived areas within each local authority, can be found in table D of the additional information for statistical release 25-2008:

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000812/index.shtml