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Jacqui Smith: Population projections and demographic data are used to ensure our capital programmes support local responsiveness that can meet the demands and needs of forecast population changes. Additional pupils from a growing population will therefore generate extra funding for the local authority.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time child care places have been available in each year since 1997, broken down by area. 
|Barking and Dagenham||1,987||2,244||2,316|
|Bath and North East Somerset||3,223||3,346||3,741|
|Bracknell Forest UA||3,312||3,592||3,403|
|Brighton and Hove UA||5,276||5,758||6,211|
|City Of London||308||430||475|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||5,818||6.510||6,523|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||2,835||3,158||3,799|
|Isle Of Wight||3,159||3,385||3,620|
|Isles Of Scilly||187||111||110|
|Kensington and Chelsea||3,023||3,289||3,405|
|Kingston Upon Hull||3,515||4,035||4,340|
|Kingston Upon Thames||2,932||3,428||3,778|
|Milton Keynes UA||5,874||6,536||7,682|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne||4,710||5,338||5,515|
|Redcar and Cleveland UA||1,903||2,560||2,554|
|Richmond Upon Thames||4,354||4,777||5,344|
|Telford And Wrekin UA||4,540||4,733||4,476|
|Windsor and Maidenhead UA||3,817||4,370||4,710|
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what target for free early education and child care for (a) three and (b) four-year-olds has been set for (i) 2007 and (ii) 2010. 
Beverley Hughes: With effect from April 2006, the minimum free entitlement for three and four-year-olds of 12.5 hours a week will increase from 33 to 38 weeks. By 2010, in line with the commitments set out in the 10-Year Childcare Strategy, the free entitlement will be further extended to 15 hours per week for all three and four-year-olds and parents who wish to do so will be able to take up the entitlement more flexibly across a minimum of three days per week. No targets have been set for 2007, although the Government is considering options for a phased roll out of the extended, more flexible entitlement. Our overall target remains to secure access to a free place for every three and four-year-old whose parents want one. Take up is already high with 96 per cent. of three-year-olds and virtually all four-year-olds benefiting from some free provision.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets she has for expanding the number of child care places (a) in total, (b) for children with disabilities, (c) for children with special educational needs and (d) for minority ethnic children; and what progress has been made towards meeting each target. 
Beverley Hughes: The Department's public service agreement (PSA) target 2(a) , owned jointly with DWP, is to increase the stock of Ofsted registered child care places by 10 per cent. by 2008. I am pleased to announce that this target has already been met. The stock of child care places rose from 1,102 million in March 2004 to 1,220 million in September 2005, an increase of 10.7 per cent.
The Department has no specific targets for children with disabilities, special education needs or minority ethnic children. However, our PSA target 2(b) is to increase the take by 50 per cent. of formal child care by lower income working families, and we know that families from these groups are disproportionately represented among lower income groups. Additionally, the Childcare Bill, currently before Parliament, requires local authorities to secure, so far as is practicable, sufficient child care places to meet the needs of parents. The Bill specifically requires local authorities to have regard for the needs of parents for child care which is suitable for disabled children, including children with special educational needs.
23 Jan 2006 : Column 1885W
Child care for black and minority ethnic children will be met in the wider duty within the Bill to secure sufficient child care that meets the needs of all parents. The major barriers that black and minority ethnic families face in accessing child care relate to cost and information. Both of these issues are being addressed in the Bill by the focus on the needs of lower income families and the information duty respectively. Additionally, the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 requires all listed public authorities to promote equality of opportunity and ensure they take account of race equality in their service delivery, which includes child care.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets she has in relation to the qualifications of people working in child care; and if she will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: Our 10-year strategy for child care, published in December 2004, sets out the Government's vision of child care services in this country becoming among the best in the world. We aim to have a better qualified workforce, with more workers trained to professional level. In our Children's Workforce Strategy, published in April 2005, we propose to have an early years' professional in every children's centre by 2010 and in every full day care setting by 2015. In the workforce strategy, we also propose to have a greater proportion of the early years and child care workforce qualified to at least level 2, we aim to increase the number of childminders qualified to level 3 and we aim to work towards our long term vision of graduate managers in all full day care settings.
Beverley Hughes: Between April 2004 and April 2005 the total number of carers approved under the Home Childcarer Scheme was 300 and, since it was replaced in April 2005 by the Childcare Approval Scheme, a further 1,339 carers have been approved. We do not have records of how many people have worked as home child carers because, under both the Home Childcarer and Childcare Approval Schemes, it is the individual that is approved and details of employment are not required.
Beverley Hughes: The consultation Childcare: extending protection and broadening support" closed on 16 August 2004 with 149 responses having been received. Overall the majority of respondents agreed with the proposals. Details of the responses can be found on the DfES consultation website at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conResults.cfm? consultationld=1247
Beverley Hughes: There is no such specific group. However, the Government are always interested in hearing the views of key stakeholders and take every opportunity to do so. We consulted widely on proposals contained in the 10-year strategy for child care and on the contents of the Childcare Bill, currently before Parliament.
In addition, the Children, Young People and Families Board of Stakeholders, which includes Ministers and senior representatives from a wide range of organisations, discusses child care from time to time.
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