§ Mr. Sarwar
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what forecast his Department has made of the number of pre-school children in each of the next five years. 
§ Mr. Wilson
Estimated numbers of pre-school year children in each of the next five years are given in the table. These estimates are based on the Registrar General's latest (1996) mid-year population estimates and the 1996-based projected number of births produced by the Government Actuary's Department. These have been adjusted to show ages as at 28 February. No account has been taken of future deaths or migration, or of children whose entry into the pre-school session or primary one may be deferred.
Pre-school session Number of pre-school year children1 1998–1999 61,371 1999–2000 59,303 2000–2001 59,559 2001–2002 58,283 2002–2003 58,107 1The figures for 1998–99 and 1999–2000 are based on the 1996 mid-year population estimates adjusted to show ages as at 28 February 1996. Figures for the remaining years are based on the 1996-based projected number of births and adjusted to 28 February. These adjustments are calculated by subtracting one third of the mid-year population at a specific age and adding in its place one third of the mid-year population one year older.