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The latest figures on early years provision in England were released by the Department on 27 November 2003 in the Statistical Bulletin "Provision For Children Under Five Years Of Age In EnglandJanuary 2003", electronic copies of which are available from the Department's website, www.dfes.gov.uk/statistics.
We have made the commitment that by April 2004, six months ahead of our original target, all three-year-olds in England whose parents want one, will have access to a free, part-time early education place.
|Number of places|
(18) Part-time equivalent number of free nursery education places taken up by three and four-year-old children.
(19) A free nursery education place comprises five two-and-a-half-hour sessions of early years education per week, for thirty-three weeks of the year, usually three terms of eleven weeks.
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Margaret Hodge: The Code of Practice already makes clear that the 55 sessions of funded early education represents a minimum annual entitlement for four year olds, and from April 2004, for three year olds. There is also flexibility within the Code to allow providers to spread the annual entitlement over a term of up to 14 weeks.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what additional financial resources he will provide to enable the pre-school sector to employ special needs co-ordinators for individual children. 
Margaret Hodge: There is no plan to employ special needs co-ordinators for individual children. Every setting is required to have a lead person, or special educational needs co-ordinator, with responsibility for overall policy for all the children in the setting with special educational needs and for co-ordinating services for individual children.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many local education authorities have made it a condition of supporting a school's bid for specialist status that the school does not exercise its right to select pupils by aptitude. 
Mr. Miliband [holding answer 18 December 2003]: No local education authorities (LEA) have informed the Department for Education and Skills that a condition of the authority's support for a school's bid for specialist status is that the school does not select pupils by aptitude. The LEA is the admission authority for many specialist schools and may decide that it would not choose to admit by aptitude.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make a statement on the availability of speech and language therapists for those with special educational needs in Essex; 
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Primary care trusts in partnership with strategic health authorities, local authorities, and other local stakeholders have the responsibility of improving the health of the community, securing the provision of high quality services, and integrating health and social care locally. They have the resources to commission services, and to identify the number of professional staff that they need to deliver those services. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community including the provision of speech and language therapy. Information on waiting times for these services is not collected centrally.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children have been statemented as having special needs in the constituency of Portsmouth South in each year since 2001. 
Margaret Hodge: The available information relates to the number of pupils with statements of special educational needs attending schools in the constituency of Portsmouth South, and is shown in the following table.
|Portsmouth South constituency||Number of pupils with statements of SEN|
n/a = Not available.
(20) For 2001 SEN data are known to be incomplete and estimates at this level are not deemed reliable.
(21) Changes in the way stages of SEN are reported were introduced in 2002 and more widely used in 2003. It is possible that some discontinuity in the time series data has resulted from this underlying change.
Annual Schools' Census
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 3 December 2003, Official Report, column 94W, on top-up fees, when he expects to publish the regulatory impact assessment. 
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The Annual Report 20022003Published Oct 03
Telling ConcernsPublished Feb 03
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many senior civil servants in his Department are disabled, expressed in (a) numbers and (b) as a percentage of whole-time equivalents. 
Mr. Touhig: My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the First Secretary and I meet the Assembly Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside to discuss a variety of issues, including the recent outbreak of potato ring rot.
The Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate and the Welsh Assembly took swift action to contain the outbreak following it's discovery, during a routine annual check. Notices were issued under the Plant Health Order, stopping all movements of potatoes from the farm and three additional farms in England that had recently taken a delivery of seed potatoes from the infected farm.
The variety sent to the English farms has tested negative for ring rot but will not be used as seed as a precautionary measure. Tests have now been completed on 1,500 tonnes of potatoes at Middlewood Farm. Two stocks associated with the variety 'Provento' have been found to be infected. The remaining 20 stocks of other varieties of seed potatoes, at the outbreak farm have been found free from potato ring rot.
It is a credit to the systems that the Welsh Assembly and UK Government have in place that the disease was identified during a routine check and that the swift action taken by all concerned successfully contained and managed the outbreak.
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