From tomorrow, 4th September 2023, a revised EYFS Statutory Framework comes into effect.
Since the introduction of the EYFS into practice in 2008, the framework has undergone several revisions to keep up-to date with government policy changes and to continuously strive to improve outcomes for all children. All revisions made to the EYFS are statutory and must be implemented into practice. This will result in changes to daily practice, policies, and procedures.
The main changes to the EYFS Statutory Framework include:
- Staff to child ratio for two-year olds: The current statutory requirement for the staff: child ratio for two-year old children there must be at least one member of staff for every four children aged two in a nursery room. However, the revised framework has confirmed that the statutory minimum staff: child ratios in nurseries and pre-schools in England for two-year-olds will change to one member of staff for every five children aged two in a nursery room
When this was announced in March 2023 by Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt presenting his first budget, this met with strong comments from leaders in the sector. Childcare providers, early years organisations and parents had spent months campaigning against plans to relax staff: child ratios in childcare settings – a proposal which was included within a consultation last year into childcare reforms, under Boris Johnson’s leadership. (See comments below)
Clarity on how many children child minders can care for, adding flexibility around caring for their own children and the siblings of other children they already care for. Currently, child minder ratios state that each adult can care for a maximum of six children under the age of eight years old, with a maximum of three children under the age of five, with no more than one child being under the age of one. This ratio remains in place within the revised EYFS, however, from the 4th of September 2023, the childminder to child ratio can be exceeded if they are caring for their own children, siblings of children already in their care or if children are aged between three and five years old and only attend the child-minding setting before or after school and/or during school holidays. However, the revision comes with a stipulation that a child minder needs to be able to demonstrate to parents/carers and Ofsted inspectors that the use of the increased ratio does not have a detrimental impact upon the individual needs of the children within their care.
- Clarification ‘adequate supervision’ while children are eating: This means that children must be within sight and hearing of an adult and replaces the current wording ‘sight or hearing.
Opinions and comments re: Staff member to child ratios for two year olds when announced in March 2023
Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Early Years Alliance
“The fact that the Government has gone ahead with relaxing ratios without even bothering to respond to the official consultation from several months ago is an insult to the sector and to families. Yes, parents want affordable care and education, but they also want to ensure that their children are in safe environments receiving quality care and education – something this policy completely flies in the face of. We have a cohort of children still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. We have an overwhelmed and overburden workforce already leaving in their droves. ‘It is a shameful decision, and one we will continue to fight to oppose”.
June O’Sullivan, CEO, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)
“The optional increase in the adult to child ratios will significantly reduce the time available for staff to spend with each child. This is particularly important for the youngest children, our babies and two-year-olds, whose welfare and development are closely linked to social interaction and forming secure attachment relationships with adults. Now more than ever, we need the Government to continue leveraging its support and commit fully to improving the quality, affordability, accessibility and availability of childcare and fix what is currently a broken system.”
Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive, Early Education
“The reform ‘raises the worrying prospect that providers will be financially pressured into relaxing ratios. The change in the ratios for two-year-olds goes against the clearly expressed views of providers and parents, and raises the worrying prospect that providers will be financially pressured into relaxing ratios against their better judgement. None of this can be delivered without significantly increased funding and a workforce plan to accompany it.”
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, The National Children’s Bureau (NCB)
“Reducing adult: child ratios ‘risks putting the development and safety of children in jeopardy. We are concerned that the measures announced today are not sufficient to ensure that more children benefit from a high-quality early education. Plans to increase child staff ratios do not fill us with hope and risk putting both the development and the safety of children in jeopardy. It could also further undermine the morale of early years educators by increasing their workload.”
You can access the revised EYFS Statutory Framework here
Let us have your thoughts on these revisions in the comments below.