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Beverley Hughes: Hertfordshire is integrating services for children and young people through children's trust arrangements that will cover the entire county. Therefore there is one children's trust that covers Hertfordshire. The local authority was chosen as a pathfinder children's trust authority and is testing provider arrangements in the Stevenage area in order to identify good practice that will influence wider implementation.
Maria Eagle: Section 8 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 refers to the design of, and access to, the buildings of educational institutions. Although this Act is still in force, Section 8 has since been superseded by other legislation including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA), The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 and the Building Regulations 2000. The provisions in these later Acts and Regulations are more comprehensive than those in Section 8 of the 1970 Act.
Schools now have a planning duty under Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to prepare accessibility plans for increasing over time the accessibility of schools for disabled pupils and prospective pupils. This planning duty covers: improving access to the curriculum, the physical environment of schools and provision of written materials in alternative formats, and will lead to access improvements that will have a positive impact on all aspects of school life.
The Learning and Skills Council monitor the extent to which further education college premises are accessible to disabled learners and, since SENDA was introduced in 2001, it has approved funding to enable colleges to undertake adaptations that will help them comply with the Act. So far over £160 million has been made available. All colleges have made, or are making, adaptations or have plans in hand. Higher education institutions are also subject to the legislation and regulations mentioned above (apart from the School Premises Regulations), but as autonomous organisations are responsible for ensuring that they comply.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in Tamworth constituency attended nursery in each of the past 10 years; and how many have taken up free nursery places since the policy was introduced. 
Beverley Hughes: All four-year-olds have been entitled to a free early education place since 1998 and from April 2004 this entitlement was extended to all three-year-olds. The free entitlement consists of a minimum of five two and a half hour sessions per week for 33 weeks of the year for six terms before statutory school age, which is the term following their fifth birthday.
Figures for January 2005 show that all four-year-old children receive some form of free entitlement. The figure for three-years-olds is 96 per cent. This covers all maintained, private, voluntary and independent providers and represents 535,100 three- year-olds and 568,300 four-year olds.
The available information on the number of free nursery education places taken up by three and four-year-olds in Tamworth parliamentary constituency area and Staffordshire local authority is shown in the tables.
The latest figures on early education places for three and four-year-olds in England were published in Statistical First Release 43/2005 Provision for children under five years of age in EnglandJanuary 2005 (final)" in September, which is available on my Department's website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.
|Maintained nursery and primary schools(2)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers(3)||Maintained nursery and primary schools(4)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers(5)|
|Maintained nursery and primary schools(6)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers||Total 3- year-olds||Maintained nursery and primary schools(7)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers||Total 4-year-olds|
Changes in pupil figures may arise from changes to the underlying population in the local authority area and other factors. However, my Department doesn't publish population figures for individual age cohorts at sub-national level because of the unreliability of the underlying population estimates. The Office for National Statistics publish sub-national population estimates in five-year age bands.
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