asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress is being made with their pilot study of the voucher scheme for the support of nursery education, what percentage of those eligible for such vouchers in the areas under study have applied, how it is proposed to assess the outcome and acceptability of the scheme, and when it is anticipated that a formal report will be made.
Good progress is being made with Phase 1 of the nursery education voucher scheme. Almost 600 providers in the private and voluntary sectors have applied to join the scheme, alongside maintained schools. The parents of almost half the estimated number of eligible children have been sent vouchers.The department will monitor the operational arrangements for Phase 1, including the issue and redemption of vouchers, and will make available its findings. Inspection reports on the quality of provision at individual institutions will become available from later this year. The benefits of the scheme for children's later education will be evaluated over the longer term.