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Pre-School Education

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) private, (b) voluntary and (c) independent nurseries have (i) opened and (ii) closed permanently in each of the last four quarters. (250967)

Information is not available in the form requested. The available information on the number and percentage of child care providers that have opened and closed in each of the last four quarters is shown in the following table:

Number and percentage of childcare providers in England that have opened and close1 in each of the last four quarters

Full Day Care

Position as at each quarter

Number

Rate (percentage)

July—September 2007

Opened

600

4.5

Closed

500

3.3

October—December 2007

Opened

500

3.7

Closed

400

3.2

January—March 2008

Opened

600

3.9

Closed

400

2.9

April—June 2008

Opened

500

3.6

Closed

400

2.6

1 Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 if under 100, and to the nearest 100 if over 100.

Note:

Due to changes in legislation as at 1 September 2008 new categories have been introduced for the collection of child care data and the current categories have ceased to exist. The latest Ofsted figures for a full quarter were published in June 2008.

Source:

Ofsted

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) whether early years settings must have no exemptions from the Early Years Foundation Stage to receive funding for the free entitlement for nursery education; and if he will make a statement; (253104)

(2) what estimate he has made of the length of time it will take for early years settings to apply successfully for exemption from the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Local authorities are responsible for determining which providers in their area should be funded to deliver the free entitlement. Local authorities have discretion whether to fund providers where there is an exemption in place. An exemption will not automatically make providers ineligible for funding.

It is estimated that most applications for exemptions will be dealt with within 12 weeks. There is no automatic right to an exemption and each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The length of time to process an individual application will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the exemption sought. In cases where an application is declined, settings are free to submit a fresh application.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effects of the extension in free entitlement to nursery care on the children who receive it. (253107)

We are extending the free early education entitlement from 12.5 hours to 15 hours delivered more flexibly in all local authorities by September 2010.

We are rolling out the extension in a staged approach. Twenty pathfinder local authorities have been delivering the extended flexible entitlement since April 2007, assessing the demand for different patterns of provision, and exploring ways of working that enable greater flexibility in a diverse childcare market. An additional 14 local authorities began delivery in September 2008. The extended offer will be available to the 25 per cent. most deprived children in every local authority from September 2009, and will be universal entitlement from September 2010.

The Department has commissioned external research to evaluate the demand for and deliverability of the extended flexible entitlement in Pathfinder local authorities and its impact on parents. The research will be published in the spring.

We already know from research that high quality early learning makes a real difference to children’s development with lasting effects throughout primary school and that the free entitlement for three and four-year-olds allows parents to access child care as a route to work and training, lifting more children out of poverty.