§ Mr. Blunkett
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many four-year-olds who have already received three terms of pre-school education in phase one of the voucher scheme have now been sent vouchers in respect of provision for a fourth term. 
§ Mr. Robin Squire
[holding answer 10 March I997]: Following formal consultation with admission authorities, including local authorities, on the arrangements for national implementation of the nursery education voucher scheme there will be uniform dates by which children become eligible for vouchers. These differ from those used in the first phase.
As a consequence of the change, some children would be left without a voucher for the term before they reach compulsory school age if they were not issued with a fourth voucher. This transitional issue affects an estimated 700 four-year-olds in the phase one local education authority areas in the summer term of 1997. A similar effect will apply for the autumn term of 1997 and the 154W spring term of 1998, involving some 6 per cent. of the estimated number of children eligible to receive three vouchers.