§ Ms Hodge
The information is not available in the form requested. The Department does not aggregate data on early years education places by the children's area of residence.
The latest provisional estimates show that there were 148,400 children aged three or four who had early years education places with providers in the Greater London Government Office area in January 2000. This figure comprises data from the Annual Schools Census on pupils in maintained schools in Greater London and figures submitted by local education authorities for Nursery Education Grant purposes relating to private, voluntary and independent sector providers in the spring term.
Currently, all eligible four-year-old children in England are now in some form of early education, including 16 per cent. in private and voluntary places. Funding is provided through the early years partnerships for LEA, voluntary and private provision.
Since September 1999, we have also invested substantially in the creation of new, free early education places for three-year-olds. During 1999–2000, funding was focused on 65 authorities, chosen based on social need, where over 46,000 three-year-olds were able to access free early education for the first time.
Over 80 per cent. of new free places were concentrated in the private, voluntary and independent sectors and we expect this trend to continue over the next year. Our aim is that, by March 2002, some 66 per cent. of three-year-olds nationally should have access to a free early education place, enabling some 190,000 three-year-olds the opportunity to access a free place for the first time.