Government to consult on further changes to the EYFS
The Department for Education has launched an eight week consultation on possible changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage as part of reforms they hope will help providers.
They are proposing changes to the EYFS framework to tailor the content to different types of provider as well as make practical changes aiming to:
- Offer providers more flexibility
- Reduce existing burdens
- Enable practitioners to provide high-quality early education
- Make it easier for practitioners to join the workforce and progress their careers.
NDNA’s Chief Executive Purnima Tanuku OBE said,
“Working in childcare and early education is a highly skilled profession that supports children’s learning and development in the stage of their lives where the majority of their brain development is taking place.
“When expanded childcare offers were announced in the Budget, we were clear that a number of changes are needed to support providers to be able to deliver this policy. However, any changes to the EYFS must not undermine quality for practitioners and children attending these settings.
“Enabling leaders and managers in early years settings to use their professional judgement on the needs of children they look after could help address some of the workforce pressures that providers are currently facing.
“Proposals to help providers increase the available workforce will help address the current staffing crisis in the sector. We especially welcome moves to improve practice-based routes into the workforce and efforts to address barriers like maths qualifications, that can hold back very skilled and experienced practitioners from furthering their careers.
“However, we need to see a long-term strategy from the Government so that measures to address short-term crises can be resolved. All the research shows that a skilled, experienced and qualified workforce has the greatest impact on children’s outcomes and life chances.
“The first five years of a child’s life really count. This period shapes who they will become, their whole educational journey and life chances as a result. Underinvestment and a lack of planning for early education and childcare sells our future generations short. It could undermine everything that early years providers are trying to achieve for their children and put at risk Government plans to increase the availability of funded childcare places.
“This consultation is an opportunity for the Government to hear, listen and respond to the needs of children, families and the early years sector.”
Some of the key areas for consultation include:
- Splitting out a childminder version of the EYFS from one for school and group-based settings
- Looking at the requirement Level 2 qualified staff & whether that could be 30% or 40%
- Offering an experience-based route to qualification – this would mirror the overseas approach if a qualification is close to being full and relevant then giving staff an in-work route to be able to demonstrate competencies in the setting
- English as an additional language – loosening requirement for using language spoken in the home
- Maths qualification – removing the requirement for all Level 3 staff to have Level 2 maths qualification to count in ratio. Managers will still need to have that qualification
- Peak working hours – a proposal to have key hours between 9-5 outside which the staff qualification aspect can be relaxed but first aid and safeguarding requirements remain.
The consultation will run for 8 Weeks and closes on 26 July 2023.