21 June 2017

Updated statutory framework for the EYFS: What you need to know

In March 2017 the Department for Education released an updated version of the statutory framework for the EYFS. The new framework came into force on 3 April 2017 and has replaced the previous version. 

To assist early years providers with the changes made to the framework, we have set out below some of the top key revisions.

  1. The summary section of the new framework EYFS helpfully sets out which provisions in the EYFS document providers are required to comply with (indicated by the word ‘must’) and which provisions providers must have regard to (indicated by the word ‘should’); the latter of which providers should follow unless there is good reason not to. Providers should note that it would only be in very exceptional circumstances that they would not have “good reason”.
  2. Section 1 EYFS (Learning and Development): This confirms that providers offering exclusively before and after school care or during the school holidays for children who normally attend Reception or above do not need to observe the learning and development requirements. However, providers offering care exclusively before and after school or during the school holidays for children younger than those in the Reception class age range, should continue to be guided by (but do not have to meet) the learning and development requirements. All such providers should discuss with parents, other practitioners/providers (as appropriate) and school staff the support they intend to offer.
  3. Section 3 EYFS (Safeguarding and Welfare): 
    • Safeguarding Training: The new framework suggests that EYFS providers may include female genital mutilation (FGM) in the list of types of abuse and neglect covered in safeguarding training for staff. Providers should take a risk based approach to whether FGM ought to be included depending on the relevant cohort of children in their care.
    • Prevent duty: Section 3 reminds providers of the legal obligation to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and that this duty extends throughout the school including the EYFS provision. Schools should therefore ensure that their EYFS Safeguarding Policy (or whole school policy if it also covers the EYFS provision) incorporates the Prevent duty requirements as set out in the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education 
    • Safer Recruitment Checks: The requirement for enhanced criminal record checks for unsupervised volunteers and supervised volunteers who provide personal care is now explicitly referenced together with the requirement that additional criminal records checks should be made for anyone who has lived or worked abroad. (A link to the government list of overseas vetting checks is provided in the EYFS document).
    • Disqualification by Association: the EYFS document contains a helpful reminder that as required by Keeping Children Safe in Education, schools must continue to have regard to the disqualification guidance published by the Department for Education and that staff may, in some circumstances, apply to Ofsted for a waiver if disqualified.
    • Paediatric First Aid (PFA) Certificates: Section 3 includes a new PFA requirement; all newly qualified entrants to the early years workforce with full and relevant level 2 and/or level 3 qualifications dated 30 June 2016 or later must also have a PFA certificate or an emergency PFA certificate within three months of starting work before they can be included in the statutory child: staff ratios in early years settings. The full PFA and emergency PFA course content is set out in new Annex A. Training must be renewed every three years and providers should display (or make available to parents) staff PFA certifications or a list of staff who have a current PFA certificate. This could be included as an appendix to the First Aid Policy, for example. Providers can make an exception to PFA requirement where a newly qualified entrant to the workforce is unable to gain a PFA certificate if a disability would prevent them from doing so. Such newly qualified entrants can still be included in the staff: child ratios if otherwise competent to carry out their childcare duties.
    • Medicines: the EYFS document has been amended to make it clearer that prescription medicines must not be administered unless they have been prescribed for a child by a doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist. This reflects the current EYFS document and should not require changes in schools which are meeting current requirements
    • Insurance: the EYFS document includes the requirement that all providers carry appropriate insurance to cover all premises from which they provide childcare. Schools should therefore check their existing insurance to satisfy themselves that it covers all premises from which they provide EYFS childcare.

Schools should note that the statutory framework for the EYFS only applies to providers and schools in England.

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About the Author
Kristine Scott, Partner, Head of Education Sector
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