The Department for Education has today published its response to the EYFS consultation conducted in the summer. The changes will be implemented from January 2024 and copies of the revised Statutory Framework documents will be published in the coming weeks.
Ministers have listened to feedback on two key proposals and will not go ahead with changing the proportion of Level 2 staff required within ratios or change the qualifications and ratios outside so-called “peak hours”. We welcome that decision.
Many will be disappointed that DfE have decided to drop the requirement for Level 3 Early Years Educators to have a level 2 maths qualification. While we recognise that the GCSE maths qualification may not be fit for purpose, and many able practitioners struggle to complete it, the message sent by this change must not be that early years practitioners do not need to be confident and confident about maths. Quite the contrary – more is needed to support practitioners in understanding and supporting early years mathematical development and learning .
We are deeply concerned by the decision to remove the requirement for settings to take reasonable steps to support children with English as an additional language. Government will amend the wording from “must” to “may” in the paragraph which currently 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.” This change is in conflict with the EYFS commitments to inclusion and diversity and meeting the needs of every child. A setting which is not prepared to take reasonable steps to support children with EAL would almost by definition be acting unreasonably.
Other changes will include:
- Having separate framework documents for childminders and for group-based settings
- Creating a separate document on qualification requirements
- Allowing students and apprentices to be included in ratio at the level below the one they are studying at the discretion of the setting manager
- allowing childminder assistants to be key persons
- removing the requirement for childminders to complete training prior to registration; instead they must demonstrate that they have the appropriate knowledge
- minor amendments relating to whether physical copies of certificates need to be displayed.
Two of the proposals will be implemented at a later, unspecified date, namely developing an experience-based route to count within ratios at Level 3 and clarification of how different Level 6 qualifications count in the ratios.
Additional announcements today included
- publication of an evaluation of the 2021 EYFS reforms
- Research on how likely childcare providers are to implement proposed changes to the early years foundation stage
- updates to the Childcare Choices website to reflect the new entitlements
- further detail for local authorities about the allocation of the previously announced funding for wraparound childcare for school age children
- £100m of capital funding to support capacity to deliver the new entitlements (further details to follow)