§ Mr. Rathbone
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the number and proportion of 3 to 4-year-olds going to pre-school play groups in the voluntary sector for each of the last five years.
§ Mrs. Currie
Statistics are not collected centrally in the form requested, but a rough estimate based on figures supplied by the Pre-School Playgroups Association would be that half the 3 to 4-year-olds attend. The table lists the number of playgroup places provided in England by the voluntary and private sectors taken together and the numbers of places per thousand population aged under five.
Year Places1 (in thousands) Places per thousand population aged under five2 1982 364.8 131 1983 371.6 133 1984 384.9 133 1985 391.1 138 31986 406.6 138 1The numbers of places are as at 31 March. 2The numbers of places per thousand population aged under five are based on the population as at 30 June of the previous year. 3The 1986 figures are provisional.
The information relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, and my right hon and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.