§ Mrs. May
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) when he plans to announce approval of the local education authority early years development and childcare plans which were submitted to him last month; 
(2) if he plans to approve all local education authority early years development and childcare plans on the basis of a three tier approval system; and if he will set out those tiers and the criteria used to judge the plans at each level. 
§ Ms Hodge
[holding answer 12 March 1999]: There will be three levels of decision: full approval, conditional approval and deferred approval. Full approval will be awarded to plans which broadly meet the criteria set out in Section three of the 'Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership Planning Guidance for 1999–2000.' For plans which meet most of the planning guidance but have some gaps in information, approval will be conditional on the subsequent submission of material to fill the gaps. Where plans do not show that the statutory duty to provide nursery education places for four year olds will be met, where there is clear evidence of a failure in partnership working or where the plan falls well short of meeting the criteria in the planning guidance, approval will be deferred until an acceptable plan is submitted.
I hope to make an announcement by the end of the month.