***UPDATE 24 April 2020 - these planned changes have come into force from today. The Department for Education will be publishing full guidance here and we will update the Coronavirus spotlight area as soon as possible.***
The Coronavirus COVID-19 early years and childcare closures guidance has been updated. There have been a number of key additions to the guidance for settings in England, including information regarding the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS).
At the moment, the EYFS continues to apply. This is with the exception of the cancellation of the EYFS profile this year. However, the government has published the planned amendments to the EYFS that would allow for the temporary lifting/modifying of a small number of requirements.
The proposals (which are subject to parliamentary agreement) are:
- Settings will not be required to meet the existing learning and development requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak but should use reasonable endeavours to do so.
- Settings will not be required to undertake the progress check at age 2 during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- Ratio requirements will remain as set out in the EYFS with the flexibility that already exists for exceptional circumstances. In addition, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak exceptions can be made to the qualification level that staff hold in order to be counted in the ratio requirements. Settings should use reasonable endeavours to ensure that at least half of staff (excluding the manager) hold at least a full and relevant Level 2 qualification to meet staff:child ratio requirements, but this will not be a legal requirement.
- New entrants (levels 2 and 3) will not need to undertake a Paediatric First Aid course within their first three months in order to be counted in staff:child ratios during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period
- In maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained schools caring for children aged 3 and over, settings should use their reasonable endeavours to ensure that at least one member of staff is a school teacher. Where this is not possible settings should follow requirements applicable where there is not someone with a suitable level 6 qualification working directly with the children.
Further guidance is expected to be issued before the end of April subject to parliamentary agreement of the relevant legislation. Until then, the current EYFS continues to apply.
We have also updated our FAQs in the Coronavirus spotlight to reflect a number of updates in the guidance around PPE; going outdoors and social distancing; expectations of settings regarding communication with parents; academic holidays and more.