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NEWS: DfE confirm changes to EYFS, Wraparound scheme details and more

EYFS changes

Today, the Department for Education (DfE) has announced planned changes to the EYFS following the consultation period that ended on 26 July 2023. All of which are still subject to parliamentary procedure.

Below are highlights of the changes that are due to come into effect in January 2024:

Page 9 - Implementation of two versions of the EYFS framework: one for childminders and one for group and school-based providers. The aim of this change is to make the EYFS easier to navigate and implement

Page 11 - The current requirement to supporting children with English as an additional language (EAL). states, “For children whose home language is not English, providers must take reasonable steps to provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home” (1.13). Changing ‘must’ to ‘may’ offers providers flexibility to best address the support needs of individual children.

Page 12 – Additional wording to reflect new technologies, for example smart watches, that have imaging and sharing capabilities to improve the safety and protection of children in settings.

Page 19 -Replacing the requirement in the EYFS for childminder applicants to have completed training which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS with a requirement to demonstrate knowledge and understanding.

Page 21 – Allowing childminder assistants to hold role of key person to encourage some childminders to expand their provision and offer assistants more opportunities for professional development

Page 26 – Removal of the requirement for practitioners to hold a level 2 maths qualification to count within the level 3 staff:child ratios. Instead, the requirement to hold a level 2 maths qualifications will be placed on setting managers.

Page 31 - Allowing students on placement and apprentices to count in staff:child ratios at the level below their level of study only if their manager deems them sufficiently 32 competent and responsible.

Below are the two changes that are due to happen at a later date (Timescales TBC):

  • Introduce an experience-based route to working in ratios (for group and school based providers only).
  • Clarify that practitioners can only operate in Level 6 staff:child ratios if they hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) or Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) (for group and school-based providers only).

The following proposals will not be taking place:

  • Reduce the percentage of Level 2 qualified staff required per ratio from ‘at least half’ to 30% or 40% of all other staff
  • Change qualification requirements outside of peak hours.

You can view a full list of the changes here.

Please note, they will not be publishing new versions of the EYFS today, only details of the planned changes.

PACEY will help our members to digest this information over the coming months, making sure that our advice and support is helpful and accurate.

We will be hosting a webinar with DfE for both members and non-members on Monday 27 November to help update everyone on the changes.

Find out more and register your FREE place here: EYFS Consultation Update with PACEY and DfE (England)

Wraparound scheme

Today, the DfE has also published the National wraparound childcare programme handbook: a guide for local authorities which sets out the programme’s vision and objectives and sets out the expectations of the programme. This handbook is non-statutory and is designed to support local authorities in England to prepare for delivery of the national wraparound childcare programme from September 2024.

The programme will be delivered through local authorities, given their existing sufficiency duty and they will require to work in partnership with childminders and other providers as well as schools.

PACEY has been working with the DfE to ensure that all remits, including childminders are involved and that the handbook reflects this.

Capital funding

A suprise announcement from the DfE today was that of the £100m Capital funding that will be distributed through local authorities on top of the £289m being made available for wraparound care. They have said this funding is for settings 'will add thousands of new childcare places across the country'. There is no further information on who exactly will receive the funing and how much.

Comment from Helen Donohoe, PACEY Chief Executive:

PACEY broadly welcomes the announcements made today. The Spring Budget pledges made earlier this year caused a huge amount of anxiety amongst our members, with 31% of them stating an intention to leave the profession as a consequence, it is very important to see that the sector was listened to on the issue of level 2 practitioners and ratios and off-peak provision. We are relieved that these proposals are not going ahead.

We are also pleased that the 77% of our members who provide wraparound care were listened to when they stated the huge damage that school-based provision could inflict. We have worked hard with Department for Education colleagues to ensure that their guidance emphasises the importance of maintaining a mixed provision of wraparound care, that childminders should not lose out and that they should be part of any expansion of provision.

However, we still face a crisis with the rapid decline in childminder numbers and in light of that we welcome the enhanced role for assistants for example, but we will watch carefully the impact of other changes such as the provision of two different EYFS frameworks.

We will continue to speak up and relay the concerns of our members to officials and political decision makers because our sector needs strategy and vision and the workforce within it deserves respect. The expansion of early education and childcare places is an admirable ambition, but as we have stated many times before, it will not happen without addressing the recruitment and retention emergency and that will take more than adjustments.