Coronavirus: Government removes pressure to meet key requirements of the EYFS

New guidance clarifies a relaxation around qualifications governing ratios and meeting the framework’s learning and development requirements.

The Government’s has published updated guidance on how early years providers should work within the Early Years Foundation Stage in the current conditions.

The proposed temporary changes to the EYFS include:

  • removing the need to complete the two-year-old progress check;
  • exceptions to the qualification levels required in order for staff to be counted in the ratio requirements, including using 'reasonable endeavours' to ensure that at least half the staff (excluding the manager) have Level 2; and
  • providers will not be required to meet the existing learning and development requirements during the coronavirus outbreak, but should use 'reasonable endeavours' to do so.

All proposed changes require emergency legislation, so are subject to parliamentary agreement.

Further guidance is due to be issued before the end of April subject to parliamentary agreement of the relevant legislation. Until then, the current EYFS continues to apply.

The DfE said it is monitoring the availability of provision, including for NHS staff closely. If critical workers do not have access to their usual childcare place, they should contact their local authority to arrange an alternative.

The guidance also urges childcare settings to be reasonable and balanced in their approach to parents’ fees, given the great uncertainty they will also be facing.

The Early Years Alliance has welcomed confirmation of these temporary EYFS changes. Chief executive Neil Leitch said: 'These are truly unique times and we are pleased that the changes proposed by government take into account the incredibly challenging circumstances providers are operating within, while still ensuring child safety and wellbeing is at the heart of decision-making.'

  • The updated guidance is available here

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