Parliamentary questions

PRE-SCHOOL

TWENTY-NINE out of every 30 places provided by councils for four-year-olds are in schools, Margaret Hodge, junior education minister, revealed this week.

Many early years campaigners argue that children can be damaged by starting formal education too early.

Yet of the 480,000 four-year-olds in England who have a publicly provided education place, 350,000 are in infant classes in primary schools.

This compares with 118,396 in nursery classes in primary schools and just 16,000 in separate nurseries.

Forty-two of the 150 local education authorities have no separate nursery schools.

Mrs Hodge was responding to a question by Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat education spokesman.

SCHOOL SECURITY

GOVERNMENT grants for school security have fallen by pound;1.5 million since they were first introduced in 1997, the year after the Dunblane massacre.

Excludin local authority spending, pound;18m was made available to schools in 1997-8 but that fell to pound;15m a year later. Last year the figure was pound;16.5m.

In answer to a question by Liberal Democrat MP, Edward Davey, the schools minister, Estelle Morris also revealed that LEAs spend a total of pound;20m on school security s each year.

PRISON EDUCATION

SPENDING on education for prisoners is set to fall this year according to Home Office minister, Paul Boateng.

In 1999-2000, the Government spent pound;9.7 million educating those spending time at Her Majesty's pleasure.

However, this will fall to under pound;9m this year. The drop could lead to a reduction in teaching hours. Last year's total of more than 1.3m was the highest for more than five years. Conservative MP, Timothy Laughton was the questioner.

Compiled by Jon Slater from Hansard PQs which can be found at www.parliament.uk


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