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Early delivery for universal nursery service

FIVE authorities now have every three-year-old benefiting from part-time nursery education, figures released by the Scottish Executive show, and others are well on the way to joining them.

Nicol Stephen, Deputy Education Minister, who announced the figures at an Edinburgh childcare centre on Tuesday, revealed that eight out of 10 three-year-olds now attend a nursery. "We are well on track to delivering our commitment to provide pre-school places for every three-year-old whose parents want it by 2002," Mr Stephen said.

The Executive estimates that target will involve an average of around 85 per cent of children but Aberdeenshire, East Dunbartonshire, Moray, Perth and Kinross, and West Dunbartonshire are already at 100 per cent. Others, such as East Ayrshire at 99 per cent, are well on the way to total cover. Falkirk and the Western Isles prop up the table at 58 per cent.

Among four-year-olds, the national average is 97 per cent with 12 authorities achieving full provision.

Leader, page 16

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