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Pre-school Education

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether his Department plans to undertake a regulatory impact assessment on the planned extension of the entitlement to free nursery care from 12.5 to 15 hours per week in 2010. (258194)

Extending the highly popular free early education entitlement from 12.5 hours a week to 15 hours, delivered more flexibly, is important both to ensuring all children benefit from high quality early education and parents are supported in balancing their work and family life. As part of the process towards extending the free entitlement, we will be making changes to regulations under section 7 of the Childcare Act and consulting widely on a revised code of practice for local authorities. We will include an impact assessment as part of the process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects free early learning to be available to all two-year-old children; and if he will make a statement. (256981)

We will extend the offer of free early learning and child care to 15 per cent. of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds in every local authority as the priority in our long term vision of a universal offer for all two-year-olds.

This will reach around 23,000 children per year and cost around £57 million in total. Decisions regarding the pace of further rollout will need to be taken based on evidence gathered from the pilot and in light of wider fiscal considerations as part of the next spending review.