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Date: May 2, 2024

Early Years Update May 2024: A call to action

The last few weeks have seen the DfE launch its latest round of consultations related to the EYFS.  Although it may appear that the proposed changes will impact on some working with the early years sector more than others, we would encourage all stakeholders to participate and give as loud a voice as possible for young children and their future.

As anticipated from previous publications, the proposal to introduce an ‘Experience’ route to level 3 is going ahead. The consultation sets out a range of questions related to the details of this.  The change will mean that a level 2 practitioner, if they fulfil agreed criteria, will be able to be counted as a level 3. This position will not be transferable between settings. 

The consultation asks us to consider issues such as:

  • how long a practitioner has been early years before they can be considered for such a role
  • that a setting must be graded good or outstanding by Ofsted
  • what assessment and supervision processes will be in place

The change is part of the wider Early Education and Childcare strategy, of which it suggests addressing workforce capacity is a core issue. Providing clear professional pathways of development is valuable in recruitment and retention. However, as we have previously shared, research consistently demonstrates that having a highly qualified workforce impacts significantly on children’s learning, especially the most disadvantaged.

Closing at 11:59pm on 20th May 2024, the consultation can be accessed here EYFS Experienced Route Consultation

The second consultation relates to safeguarding and the development of a set of consistent procedures and shared language across all Early Years providers. Questions are asked regarding new policies and procedures for settings and again, we would encourage all to take part.

Closing at 11:59pm 17th June 2024, the consultation can be accessed here EYFS Safeguarding Consultation

As you may also be aware, April saw the publication of a report from the National Audit Office, examining the current childcare programme rollout. The report looks at three key areas:

  • The background to the early years market and government-funded entitlements
  • DfE’s preparations and progress in extending entitlements
  • The NAO’s view of the future risks DfE needs to manage to achieve value for money

Those of you who have either read the report, or have seen the headlines, will be aware that it raises some significant questions regarding the plans, sustainability, and the impact on children. Most notably the risk that the proposals will add to the already increasing disadvantage gap, and impact negatively on children with SEND.

The report also raises concerns around the potential for the plans to negatively impact on the quality of practice, as well as practicalities such as a lack of capacity to meet demands.  A challenging, but essential read for all involved in the early years and wider education sector, the report can be accessed in full at this link NAO Report

The early years community is rich, diverse, and passionate.  We may work in very different contexts, but what has always struck me is the one thing that we all strive to maintain – a clear focus on the children we are privileged to know and to secure the best possible journey for all of them.

There is no doubt that the sector faces many challenges, and as we do, quality must be the starting point for all our conversations. For we know it is those first years of life that build the foundation for the brightest of futures.

Find out more

Take part in shaping the future of early years education by joining the EYFS Experienced Route Consultation. Your input is crucial. Respond by May 20, 2024.

Complete Consultation

Contribute to developing consistent safeguarding procedures in our EYFS Safeguarding Consultation before June 17, 2024.

Complete Consultation

Explore passionate discussions on early years by listening to our podcasts, designed to give EYFS & KS1 educators ideas and insights about early childhood education.

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