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MORE THREE YEAR OLDS IN NURSERY EDUCATION

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The number of three year olds in nursery education has increased by five per cent, according to figures published t...
The number of three year olds in nursery education has increased by five per cent, according to figures published today.

This means an extra 2,200 three year olds are receiving the benefits of early years education compared to the previous year.

Around 85 per cent of three year olds and 96 per cent of four year olds are now in nursery education.

Speaking during a visit to First Step Community Nursery in Hamilton, education minister Cathy Jamieson welcomed the figures.

She said:

'As we pledged in our Programme for Government, every three and four year old in Scotland now has access to a pre-school education place to help ensure they get the best possible start in life. Today's figures show that parents are increasingly taking advantage of this provision.

'Parents and their children have diverse needs, and local authorities and their partners have been flexible in meeting them. The importance of partnerships cannot be stressed too strongly. I encourage local authorities to continue working with the private and voluntary sectors in providing high quality services.

'I want to encourage parents to take up the opportunity of pre-school education across Scotland - we will be working with local authorities to highlight the benefits and encourage expansion.

'I am also very pleased to to see at first hand the services that First Step Community Nursery is offering, and to be able to talk to parents and children about the help and support they are receiving.

'Sure Start Scotland funding enables local authorities to target additional support at those families with very young children who need it. Delivering this support is a priority if we are to close the opportunity gap and give all our children the best possible start in life.'

The First Step Community Nursery in Hamilton is one of four key locations for the development of Sure Start Scotland in North Lanarkshire. The Sure Start Scotland allocation is funding 24 full-time equivalent places in First Step as well as a mobile creche to complement the Family Support Strategy.

First Step provides support for vulnerable families experiencing a range of difficulties including alcohol and drug misuse, homelessness, financial problems and health issues.

Figures for the Pre-School Education Participation Rate 2001-02 were published today. Participation in pre-school education is voluntary. A number of parents do not wish their children to take advantage of the provision available. The rate for 3 year olds has increased by 5 per cent from 2000-01; the rate for 4 year olds has declined slightly by 1 per cent.

Of 57,946 eligible 3 year olds in 2001-02, 49,087 are receiving grant funded pre-school education. Of 59,970 eligible 4 year olds, 57,496 are receiving pre-school education. A breakdown by local authority area is available from Brian Robinson on 0131-244-2968.

PARTICIPATION RATES OF 3 AND 4 YEAR OLDS BY LOCAL AUTHORITY

Participation percentage: 3 Year Olds / 4 Year Olds / 3 and 4 Year Olds

Aberdeen City Council 80% 95% 88%

Aberdeenshire Council 82% 96% 89%

Angus Council 83% 100% 92%

Argyll & Bute Council 97% 96% 97%

Clackmannanshire Council 92% 100% 96%

Dumfries & Galloway Council 84% 90% 87%

Dundee City Council 82% 100% 92%

East Ayrshire Council 82% 96% 89%

East Dunbartonshire Council 100% 100% 100%

East Lothian Council 82% 98% 90%

East Renfrewshire Council 92% 100% 98%

Edinburgh City Council 80% 93% 87%

Eilean Siar Council 100% 100% 100%

Falkirk Council 78% 98% 88%

Fife Council 87% 98% 92%

Glasgow City Council 77% 89% 83%

Highland Council 96% 100% 98%

Inverclyde Council 76% 91% 83%

Midlothian Council 100% 100% 100%

Moray Council 84% 89% 87%

North Ayrshire Council 83% 98% 91%

North Lanarkshire Council 90% 96% 93%

Orkney Islands Council 96% 84% 90%

Perth & Kinross Council 100% 100% 100%

Renfrewshire Council 85% 92% 88%

Scottish Borders Council 89% 100% 95%

Shetland Islands Council 72% 87% 80%

South Ayrshire Council 91% 100% 95%

South Lanarkshire Council 79% 98% 88%

Stirling Council 88% 100% 95%

West Dunbartonshire Council 100% 99% 99%

West Lothian Council 81% 94% 88%

Scotland 85% 96% 90%

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