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Child Care

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the Government's policy is on extending child care provision; and what plans the Government have to extend child care provision. [186813]

Margaret Hodge: Between 1997 and 2004 the Government aimed to create around 900,000 new child care places to help 1,600,000 children. By March 2004 some 1,000,000 new child care places had been created helping some 1,800,000 children. The Government have a target to create a further 250,000 new child care places for at least 450,000 children by March 2006 and to increase the stock of registered child care places across England by at least 10 per cent. by March 2008.

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the Government's policy is on the promotion of the National Childcare Strategy; and what plans the Government has to extend the strategy. [186814]

Margaret Hodge: The National Childcare Strategy is promoted, as part of the Government's Sure Start programme, through a variety of channels and campaigns, targeting parents and those working with parents and children. These include: articles in the daily, local and specialist press; leaflets available in locations such as health centres, Job Centres and Post Offices, and sent to Sure Start programmes, health visitors, midwives and employment advisers; publications such as the "Choosing Childcare" booklet; and National Sure Start
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Month held each June. Children's Information Services (CISs) in each of the 150 local authorities provide detail and advice to parents on Childcare and other Sure Start programmes in their areas.

The Government are continuing to expand and strengthen Childcare provision. Our PSA Target is 10 per cent. growth in the stock of registered places between 2004 and 2008. The Department for Education and Skills "Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners" (published on 8 July) makes clear that much of the future expansion will be provided on school premises, or in integrated children's centres, so child care becomes part of a web of personalised services, including good quality health and family support, that best suits families and their children. We will link the free early education entitlement for 3 and 4-year-olds more effectively with the hours of child care for which parents pay, to offer integrated education and care for a full day, while extended schools—both primary and secondary—will provide, or host, a wide range of services, including child care and a range of family learning and parental support, on-site.

In addition, the Chancellor confirmed in his "Spending Review" 2004 statement that the Government will publish a plan in the pre-Budget report later this year outlining our vision of choice for parents and high quality provision for young children for the period up to 2015.

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate the Government have made of the number of (a) child care places and (b) childminders that will be created by the Neighbourhood Nurseries initiative. [186815]

Margaret Hodge: The Neighbourhood Nursery Initiative will provide 45,000 integrated care and education places for children under the age of five living in the most disadvantaged areas of the country. Currently over 42,600 places are being delivered through 1,218 nurseries. We expect the 45,000 place target to be reached in the next few months.

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what estimate the Government has made of how many registered child care places there were in (i) St. Helens and (ii) the UK, broken down by region, in each year since 1997; [186827]

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2) how many local authority nurseries there were in each year since 1997, (a) broken down by region and (b) in St. Helens; [187364]

(3) what estimate the Government has made of the number of nurseries which have closed in each year since 1997 (a) broken down by region and (b) in St. Helens. [187365]

Margaret Hodge: The information is not available in the form requested. The available information on the numbers of day nurseries or full day care facilities for St. Helens and the regions are shown in the following tables.

With the introduction of the National Day Care Standards and the transfer of responsibilities for registration and inspection to Ofsted, child care providers are now classified according to whether they are full day care, sessional day care, childminder, out of
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school day care or crèche day care places. Previously, child care providers were classified according to whether they were day nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, childminders, out of school clubs or holiday schemes. Therefore, figures for 2003 are not directly comparable with figures for earlier years because they are collected on a different basis.

Statistics on the number of child care facilities registered in England were published on 22 July 2004 in a report by Ofsted "Registered Childcare Providers and Places in England, 30 June 2004". The report is available on the Ofsted website,
Number of day nurseries1,2 in St. Helen local authority area and by Government Office Region: 1999–2001

Position at 31 March each year
St. Helens(3)50(3)20(3)60n/a
North East190190220n/a
North West and Merseysiden/a
North West840910940n/a
Yorkshire and Number700690710n/a
East Midlands560660550n/a
West Midlands870900970n/a
Greater Londonn/a
Inner London610650680n/a
Outer London550600620n/a
South East1,1001,2401,400n/a
South West770900910n/a
Of which:
Local authority provided400400460n/a

n/a = Not available.
(11) Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 or 100 as appropriate. Figures may not add to totals due to founding.
(12) Data Source: Children's Day Care Facilities.
(13) Figures as reported by the local authority.

Number of full day care facilities in St. Helens local authority area and by Ofsted Region, position as at 31 December 2003

St. Helens30
East of England1,000
East Midlands800
North East and Yorkshire1,400
North West England1,400
South East England1,900
South West England1,200
West Midlands1,300

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

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Children's Information Services

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children's information services (a) have been opened and (b) are planned to be opened in (i) St Helens and (ii) England, broken down by region. [186810]

Margaret Hodge: Since the introduction of the National Childcare Strategy in 1998 each local authority in England has been required to have a Children's Information Service (CIS). However, in some cases bordering local authorities have provided a joint service. There are currently 146 CISs in England. St Helens has one CIS. The table below breaks down by region the local authorities in England that operate a CIS.

Children's Information Services in England

East Midlands

East of England

North East

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North London

South London

North West

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South East

South West

West Midlands

Yorkshire and Humberside

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