§ Mr. Paterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what percentage of three-year-olds have access to early years education in(a) rural areas and (b) urban areas; 
(2) what percentage of three-year-olds have access to early years education in north Shropshire. 
§ Margaret Hodge
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: The information is not available in the form requested.
In January 2002, 98 per cent. of three-year-old children in Shropshire received early years education in a private, voluntary, independent, special or maintained establishment.
In every local education authority area, there is an early education place for every four-year-old whose parents want one in either the maintained, private or voluntary sector. We have made the commitment that by April 2004, six months ahead of our original target, all three-year-olds whose parents want one, will have access to a free, part-time early education place.
The latest local authority figures on early year's education in England were published in the Departments Statistical Bulletin 08/2002 "Provision for children under five years of age in England: January 2002" in December 2002. An electronic copy of which is available in the Library and on the DfES website, www.dfes. gov.uk/statistics.