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NEWS: EYFS Statutory Instrument laid

Today, the Department for Education, have laid a Statutory Instrument (SI) in Parliament to amend the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework (EYFS) with changes that will come into force from 4 September 2023.

From 4 July 2022 to 16 September 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) consulted on the following proposed amendments to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework:   

  • a change to the current statutory minimum staff:child ratios in England for 2-year-olds from 1:4 to 1:5;   

  • clarifying that childminders can care for more than the currently-specified maximum of three young children, when caring for siblings of children they already care for, or when caring for their own child; and   

  • clarifying that “adequate supervision” while children are eating means that children must be within sight and hearing of an adult (rather than the current wording of “sight or hearing”).  

Alongside the consultation, the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and Frontier Economics (commissioned by DfE) conducted a study with early years providers to assess the impact of the proposed changes.  In the government response to the consultation, published in March 2023, they announced they would be proceeding with the proposed changes to ratios, childminder flexibilities and supervision while eating.   

The updated version of the Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework  (which will apply from 4 September 2023) is available alongside the current version of the EYFS (which still applies until 4 September 2023).    

Thoughts from PACEY's Information, Advice and Guidance Manager, Angela Gamble 

“While the ratio changes offer flexibilities to settings, it is important for all providers to ensure any changes they make to staff:child ratios continue to ensure the safety of and meet the needs of all the children in their care.  

The clarification that 'adequate supervision' while children are eating means that children must be within sight and hearing of an adult is welcomed. Choking can happen very quickly, and a child who is choking can be silent, therefore visual supervision is essential. Practitioners can find out more about choking prevention and Food safety - Help for early years providers - GOV.UK (

The changes come into force in September; it is important that providers use the time between now and then to think about how they will implement these changes and make any necessary changes to practice, particularly when it comes to ensuring supervision when children are eating.” 


This announcement on the laying of the SI is separate to the EYFS consultation launched on 31 May 2023. The live consultation, which is open until 26 July 2023, explores possible flexibilities that could be introduced to the EYFS while protecting the quality and safety of settings. We envisage any changes made, taking into account the outcome of that consultation, would be implemented in early 2024, subject to the parliamentary process.