§ Ms. Armstrong
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what extra funds will be made available for those playgroups and out-of-school schemes for school-age children which presently fall short of the criteria for registration, as required by the Children Act 1989, to enable them to meet the criteria.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The funding of playgroups and out-of-school clubs is a matter for those running them. The Department gives a total of £660,000 grant aid to the Pre School Playgroups Association and Kids Clubs Network to help them support local services.
Playgroups are currently registered under the Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act, 1948. They are required to re-register under the Children Act 1989 within 12 months of the Act coming into force on 14 October 1991. Guidance in volume 2 of the Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations series says that local authorities should not refuse to re-register facilities because they fall below the standards recommended, but should allow them a specified time—normally not more than one year to reach them.
It is for local authorities to decide in the light of each out of school scheme what specific requirements to impose and in so doing they must have regard to the general guidance on this issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.