HC Deb 19 December 1995 vol 268 cc1161-2W
Mr. Merchant

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will indicate when the report of the Office of Her

£ million
1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97
Expenditure on base programme 151.9 146.2 1119.4 2120.0
Financed by:
Current receipts 28.8 23.4 19.0 10.0
Capital receipts 53.4 72.5 75.0 70.0
Central government provision 69.7 50.3 25.4 40.0
ERDF support for projects additional to the WDA's base programme 11.0 11.0 10.0
1 Estimated outturn.
2 Plans.

Majesty's chief inspector survey of provision in schools and in playgroups for the under-fives will be published. [7691]

Mr. Richards

I welcome the report by OHMCI which is being published today. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House, as soon as possible.

The report provides useful information on current educational standards and practice in schools and in playgroups and will help inform our deliberations on the introduction of a voucher scheme for four-year-olds. It highlights several areas where there is good provision, but I am concerned that there are too many instances of unsatisfactory standards in both schools and playgroups.

OHMCI has inspected both sectors according to its framework for inspecting early years provision in schools. In terms of education provision, it is not surprising that the playgroup sector lags behind the maintained sector since, traditionally, playgroups have had different aims and objectives.

To participate in the voucher scheme, playgroups will need to work to achieve the desirable outcomes to he drawn up for four-year-olds in all settings.

Officials of the Welsh Office will be having discussions with both the Wales Pre-Schools Playgroup Association and Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin to discuss issues arising from the report and how they might be addressed.