§ Mr. McGrady
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what training and education is provided to playgroup staff in each of the education and library board areas in Northern Ireland by the Department of Education;443W
(2) what training and education is provided to playgroup staff in each of the health and social services board areas in Northern Ireland by the Department of Health and Social Services.
§ Mr. Needham
The Department does not provide training and education to playgroup staff. It does, however, grant aid the Northern Ireland Pre-School Playgroups Association (NIPPA), whose functions include the provision of advice, training and support for these staff. In conjunction with NIPPA, local colleges of further education run courses for playgroup staff, parents and volunteers. Since 1985, NIPPA has also been running tutor training programmes for experienced leaders of playgroups and mother and toddler groups. In addition, the staff of health and social services boards' playgroups can attend courses offered by the boards as part of their in-service training programmes.