§ Miss Geraldine Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures the Government are taking to encourage the expansion of pre-school education. 
§ Ms Hodge
We already fund three terms of free nursery education places for all four year olds whose parents want it. Over the next three years, we are making available £390 million to fund free early education places for three year olds. By April 2002, the participation rate of 197W three year olds will be very nearly doubled to 66 per cent. In 1999–2000, about £40 million of this additional funding will be allocated to the 57 Local Education Authorities with the highest levels of social need, creating around 48,000 places. From April 2000, Funding will be distributed across all Local Education Authorities.