HC Deb 23 November 2000 vol 357 c434
14. Ms Joan Ryan (Enfield, North)

How many extra child care places have been created since the introduction of the national child care strategy; and if he will make a statement. [138372]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Ms Margaret Hodge)

Almost 250,000 new child care places have been created since 1997, providing care for nearly 450,000 children. That is three and a half times the number of child care places that were created during the 18 long and wasted years when the Conservative party was in office.

Ms Ryan

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, and for visiting the early years development partnership in Enfield last week. She will be aware from that visit of how pleased we are to welcome the new child care places in Enfield as a result of the national child care strategy, and how needed those places were. During her visit, we were given a demonstration of an excellent database on the early years development partnership website for anyone who wants to work in child care. It showed the wide range of job opportunities and the training and qualifications required. Are any mechanisms in place or has her Department taken any action to enable early years development partnerships to share good practice up and down the country?

Ms Hodge

I was incredibly impressed by all the aspects I saw of the work undertaken by the partnership in Enfield. I was particularly impressed by the nursery provision facilitated by our funding, and the work for children with special educational needs. The website providing information about qualification routes for those interested in careers in child care was extremely impressive. We are considering ways of ensuring that that good practice is spread elsewhere.