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Early-years Education

Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many three and four-year-olds in (a) Wakefield district and (b) Normanton constituency are receiving (i) 12.5 hours a week, (ii) 15 hours a week and (iii) 20 hours a week of free early-years education. [32450]

Beverley Hughes: Information is not collected in the form requested.

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.
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Some local authorities may additionally offer subsidised child care places but this information is not collected centrally.

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.

In January 2005 in Wakefield LA there were 3,200 free nursery places taken up by three-year-old children. The equivalent figure for four-year-olds was 3,600. Information for private and voluntary providers is not currently available for Normanton constituency in 2005.

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 England—January 2005 (final)" in September, which is available on my Department's website

Extended Schools Programme

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much funding has been allocated to (a) Staffordshire local education authority and (b) local schools in Tamworth constituency to develop and roll out the extended schools programme in (i) 2005–06, (ii) 2006–07, (iii) 2007–08 and (iv) 2008–09; [33731]

(2) what estimate she has made of the number of schools in (a) Staffordshire and (b) Tamworth constituency that will be delivering extended services in (i) 2006, (ii) 2007 and (iii) 2008; and to how many children and parents such provision will be available. [33733]

Beverley Hughes: This Government want all schools to provide access to a core offer of extended services by 2010, with half of all primary and a third of all secondary schools doing so by 2008. We want to see at least 2,500 schools providing access to the core offer by September 2006. The core offer, which should be available to all parents and pupils of the school, comprises: high quality child care; a varied menu of study support activities parenting support programmes; swift and easy referral to a wide range of specialised support services; and wider community access. It will be for individual local authorities, in discussion with all schools in their area, to take a strategic approach to developing access to the core offer through schools. This will include determining how many primary and secondary schools develop access to the core offer in each year. On 29 September 2005 my Department published its report on the baseline survey of extended services in schools which it commissioned earlier in the year. The survey showed that nationally the vast majority of schools were providing access to some form of extended activity. The survey did not provide figures at local authority level.

On 13 June 2005 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced funding of £790 million over 2005–08 to support the development of extended schools. £110 million of this was allocated in 2005–06 and
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Staffordshire received £1,223,340. Of the £680 million to be allocated across 2006–08, £250 million will go direct to schools through the School Standards Grant and the formula for calculating each school's allocation for 2006–07 will be announced in the near future. The remaining £430 million will be distributed to local authorities through the Standards Fund and the General Sure Start Grant. Of this Staffordshire will receive £2,537,634 in 2006–07 and £3,121,417 in 2007–08. Funding will be released to schools in accordance with each local authority's extended schools strategy. My Department wrote out to each local authority on 13 June 2005 detailing what their extended schools allocation, excluding the School Standards Grant, will be over the period 2005–08.

Funding for extended schools beyond 2007–08 is subject to the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2007 when the Department will be reviewing all its programme budgets.


Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in England are awaiting fostering. [34309]

Maria Eagle: There is currently no central collection of data regarding the number of children in England who are awaiting fostering.

However, work to identify and resolve difficulties in the collection of national data about foster carers is on-going. Fieldwork involving a sample of local authorities has recently taken place in order to contribute to the development of an informative and workable data collection, the first results of which we expect to receive in 2007.

Higher Education

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment she has made of the effect on (a) the science and knowledge base of regions and (b) regional development of the system for allocating research funding to higher education institutions; [33849]

(2) what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister onthe links between university research funding and tackling regional productivity differences; and if she will make a statement. [33850]

Bill Rammell: My right hon. Friend and I welcome the contribution that higher education is making to national and regional economic development and have discussed this on a regular basis with a wide range of partners, including representatives of the higher education sector, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and other Government Departments. Although we have no present plans to change the system whereby HEFCE's research funding allocations reward research excellence wherever it is found, the Higher Education Innovation Fund continues to support universities' capacity to interact productively with business and the community. The third phase of the fund will run from 2006–08 and will guarantee all HEFCE-funded higher education institutions a minimum allocation from a total budget of more than £200 million.
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We also welcome the work that regional partners, including the regional development agencies, are doing to support collaboration, knowledge transfer, innovation and inward investment within their regions.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the (a) projects and (b) services run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which have received public funding in each of the last three years; and what the (a) amount and (b) duration of each grant was. [33059]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 29 November 2005]: The Department for Education and Skills awarded the NSPCC a grant up to 3,085 from the Children and Young People's Participation Fund 2003–04 for an international consultation event on 19–20 February 2004 in Belfast, to enable children and young people to meet together and with members of the NSPCC's board of trustees.

This is the extent of Department for Education and Skills grant funding to the NSPCC.

The NSPCC does receive public funding in relation to services it provides from local authorities and possibly other public bodies but this information is not held centrally.

Pre-school Education

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment she has made of the merits of (a) informal and (b) formal pre-school education; [31414]

(2) what research she has commissioned into the long-term effects of pre-school education for (a) emotional and social development and (b) attainment at key stage1. [31420]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 24 November 2005]: To assess the benefits of funded early education, delivered in a wide range of both maintained and private, voluntary and independent settings, my Department commissioned the effective provision of re-school education (EPPE) study. This study, which began in 1997, follows 3,000 children from the age of three to the end of key stage 2. So far, the study has demonstrated that there are benefits of pre-school education for attainment and social and emotional development in key stage 1. Other findings include that children with experience of pre-school education demonstrate significantly higher attainment in KS1 national assessments in mathematics and English compared with children who have no experience of pre-school education. The EPPE study will continue to follow children's development to the end of key stage 2. Further information can be found at

This study found that the children of those parents who actively engaged in activities such as teaching songs and nursery rhymes and reading to the child did better at the end of key stage 1 compared to children whose parents did not engage in such activities.
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My Department has also commissioned the University of Bristol to look at the impact of different types of childcare (including informal care, for instance with relatives) on children's behavioural and cognitive outcomes at ages five and seven, using data from the Avon longitudinal study of parents and children. We will publish a report of these findings in early 2006.

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