Early Years and Childcare Expansion Updates from DfE Director of Early Years
PRESS RELEASE – https://foundationyears.org.uk
The DfE Director of Early Years, Susie Owen, this week shared a number of updates on the Early Years and Childcare Expansion plans.
Owen’s first update was in reference to the Spring Budget announcement; In the 2023 Spring Budget, the Government announced significant new investments to expand the early education entitlements from 2024-25. This expansion is designed to support more working families to access high-quality, affordable early education and childcare.
In addition, the Government also provided £204 million additional funding local authorities to increase 2023-24 funding rates for 2-year-olds and 3- and 4-years-olds.
The updates also made reference to the updated EYFS coming into force and the much debated ratio increase coming into effect; allowing settings to increase the number of two year olds a member of staff could look after from 1:4 to 1:5, and simultaneously strengthening the requirement on supervision of children while eating.
Within these updates, Susie Owen also mentioned the childminder start up grant and the eligibility criteria for this scheme which will be open for applications from November 30th 2023. The government will offer £600 for childminders registering with Ofsted and £1200 for those registering with a childminder agency if they complete registration between 15 March 2023 and 31 March 2025.
The independent evaluation of the 2021 Early Years Reforms has also been recently published. The evaluation found that the majority of leaders and staff thought the 2021 EYFS reforms have had or will have a positive effect on children’s learning and development, and that leaders generally thought the 2021 EYFS reforms had improved the quality of teaching in their settings.
Over the summer, DfE consulted on proposals to improve flexibilities for early years settings on changes to the EYFS. The consultation received 2,667 replies. The Department for Education wants to support providers to operate successfully and ensure practitioners can focus on providing children in their care with a high-quality early education, and have opportunities to progress their careers.
With this in mind and after carefully considering all the responses, Ministers have decided to implement a number of changes to the EYFS framework. The intention is to implement the majority of the changes from January 2024, subject to parliamentary procedure. This includes no longer requiring level 3 practitioners to hold a level 2 maths qualification and creating provider specific versions of the EYFS.
There were two proposals in particular which received widespread concern, which Ministers have decided not to proceed with; changes to the percentage of level 2 qualified staff required per ratio and changing the qualification requirements outside of peak hours.
Watch this space for further updates from the DfE.