13,164 children aged under 5 enrolled in non-compulsory education

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13,164 children aged under 5 enrolled in non-compulsory educationA total of 13,164 children aged less than five were enrolled in the non-compulsory sector. The number of children attending formal childcare stood at 3,578, while children attending pre-primary education during the scholastic year 2015/2016 totalled to 9,586, the National Statistics Office said today.

As at end of March 2016, the share of pre-primary students attending state and independent schools amounted to 70 per cent and 19 per cent respectively; the remaining attended church schools. The most popular age in independent and state schools was that of 3 years, whereas in the case of church schools, the majority were 4 years of age.

The choice for pre-primary education in the Gozo and Comino district was limited to state and church schools, the former comprising 65 per cent of the total.

In the Gozo and Comino district the dependence on informal childcare was relatively higher across all ages.

The largest proportion of pre-primary students resided and attended school in the Northern Harbour District. While most students attending state schools resided in the same locality of the school, the contrary prevailed in the case of church and independent schools. The majority of students who attended independent and church schools resided in the Northern Harbour district, comprising 45 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

Total number of children in Free Childcare Scheme ('the Scheme') during March amounted to 2,805 or 78 per cent of the total number of children attending childcare centres. Overall, the scheme resulted to be most popular with children in the age bracket of one and two years (89 per cent), while children in the younger age bracket (less than one year) were mainly dependent on informal childcare.

Over 64 per cent of free childcare was provided through centres located in the Northern Harbour and Southern Harbour districts. The average daily duration of children in the free childcare was five hours. The peak drop-off time and pick-up time brackets were between 08:00 and 09:00hrs and 13:00 and 14:00hrs respectively.

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