§ Mr. Hendrick
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many(a) free nursery and (b) pre-school places were available for (i) three and (ii) four-year-olds in Preston in each of the last seven years. 
§ Margaret Hodge
The information is not available in the form requested.
Figures on the number of free nursery education places taken up by three and four year olds in Lancashire local education authority area are shown in the table.1342W
The latest figures on provision for three and four-year-olds in England were published in a Statistical Bulletin "Provision for children under five years of age in England—January 2003" which is available on the Department's website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.
Since the beginning of April 2004, six months ahead of our original target, all three-year-olds in England whose parents want one, are eligible for a free, part-time early education place.
Number of free nursery education places1,2 taken up by three and four-year-old children in maintained nursery and primary schools and private, voluntary and independent providers—Lancashire local education authority area—1997 to 2003 Position in January each year Three-year-olds Four-year-olds 1997 4,400 12,400 1998 4,400 13,500 1999 4,400 16,000 2000 4,300 15,900 2001 9,400 15,700 2002 9,400 13,000 2003 10,100 12,600 1Part-time equivalent number of free nursery education places taken up by three and four-year-old children. 2A free nursery education place comprises five two and a half hour sessions of early years education per week, for 33 weeks of the year, usually three terms of 11 weeks.