§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of three and four year-olds currently receive state nursery education; and what are the equivalent figures for France and Germany. 
§ Mr. Robin Squire
International comparisons of participation in education by young children are difficult to make because of the need to ensure consistent definition across countries. The latest available information on three and four-year-olds participating in public and private education is shown in the following table. Separate participation rates for state nursery education only are not available.
Participation rates of 3 and 4 year-olds1 in education, 1992 3 and 4 year-olds Per cent. France 100 Former West Germany 49 United Kingdom 253
Education Statistics for the United Kingdom, 1995 edition, HMSO. Education at a Glance, OECD, 1995.
1Pupils aged 3 and 4 as a percentage of the population aged 3 and 4.
2 Fifty seven in 1995.
§ Mr. Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment she has made of the educational benefit a child receives from nursery education. 
§ Mr. Squire
There is a widespread acknowledgement, based on evidence from research studies in the United States and this country, that children benefit from good quality nursery education in primary education and beyond.