§ Mr. McMaster
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the development of pre-five education in Scotland.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
[holding answer 11 June 1992]: It is for local authorities to decide on the extent and nature of the pre-school education they provide having regard to available resources, local circumstances and competing priorities. The number of children attending local authority nursery schools in Scotland has risen from 31,700 in 1979 to 45,238 in 1991, an increase of 42 per cent. Over the same period local authority net current expenditure on nursery education increased from £12 million to £45 million.
Provision of pre-five education also extends to day care, which can be provided in a number of ways—at day nurseries, with child-minders or at play-groups. Day care provision has been growing steadily in recent years and, in recognition of this, in March this year the Government provided £0.5 million of special support for an initiative designed to improve the quality and educational content of day care services.