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Early Years Foundation Stage 2014

The Government has published an updated version of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to take effect from 1 September 2014.  This follows the Government’s response to the consultation on‘The Regulation of Childcare’ which was published on 13 February 2014.

The 2014 version of the EYFS reflects those changes which apply to some of the areas within Section 3 on Safeguarding and Welfare.  There have been no changes to the areas of learning and development themselves (including the early learning goals).

The 2014 EYFS can be downloaded from our website and you can view a simple summary of the changes here

Children and Families Act

The Children and Families Bill – including provisions for establishing childminder agencies and making it easier for schools to offer wrap-around care – has received Royal Assent and becomes law.

The Department for Education will be working to commence theAct’ss provisions over the coming weeks and months.  More information will be available in upcoming issues of our newsletters.

You can read more on the Children and Families Act here

Childcare support

The government has announced a package of extra childcare support for families,including increasing tax-free childcare, introducing a £50m early years pupil premium and covering 85% of childcare costs for 300,000 of the most disadvantaged families.

Tax-Free Childcare
The new tax-free childcare scheme will be increased to £2,000 per child and extended to all children under 12 within the first year.

This new childcare package will benefit almost 2 million families and will help parents to go out to work if they want to and provide more security for their families, while directing extra support to those children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The government will provide 20% support on childcare costs up to £10,000 per year for each child via a new simple online system.  The limit had previously been set at £6,000.  This now means support of up to £2,000 per child per year.

The scheme will be introduced much more quickly than previously announced with all working parents covered within the first year from autumn 2015.  Previously children under 12 would have gradually qualified for the scheme over a 7-year period.

The government has released a list of top 10 things parents should know about tax-free childcare.  You can view that here

Early Years Pupil Premium
A new Early Years Pupil Premium will be introduced to help ensure children get the best possible start in life. £50 million will be invested in 2015 to 2016 giving early years providers more support to help those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.  This will help providers employ more highly qualified staff, for example, or to increase access to services such as speech and language specialists.

85% of childcare costs to be met under Universal Credit
To help more families move off of benefits and into employment, the government intends to cover 85% of the cost of childcare for all families receiving Universal Credit, which would be around 300,000 families.

Primary assessment and accountability

The Department for Education (DfE) have published the Government response to the primary assessment and accountability consultation.  Sitting alongside changes to assessment and accountability systems and structures for keys stages 1 and 2 there are changes to assessment in the reception year.

This will capture the school’s starting point from which the progress of a cohort will be measured.  The baseline will be age appropriate and schools will be able to use it from September 2015.  This baseline will sit within the teacher’s broader assessments of children’s development – which go wider than any single baseline assessment can accurately capture.  Teachers will continue to undertake on-going (formative) assessment during reception.  At such a key transition point, such as moving into reception, we expect teachers to liaise with a child’s previous setting in order to build on the child’s learning and development.

The Early Years Foundation Stage continues to be statutory supporting children to experience a broad and engaging programme of learning in reception and ongoing (formative) assessment is an integral part of that process.  Ofsted assess how schools meet the requirements of the EYFS as part of their inspection and this is emphasised by the fact they are currently consulting on a separate judgement on early years in schools.

Status of the EYFS Profile

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile was not designed to be a progress measure therefore once the reception baseline has been fully implemented in September 2016 and in order to avoid an excessive assessment burden in Reception, the EYFS Profile will no longer be compulsory.  The transition period up to September 2016 will be carefully managed and DfE will communicate clearly with local authorities, stakeholders and schools.

Accountability in the Primary Years   

The accountability system will now reflect the raised expectations being placed on primary schools.  The DfE:

  • Are setting a challenging aspiration that 85% of children should achieve the new expected standard by the end of primary school.  Over time the DfE expect more and more schools to achieve this standard;
  • Will be requiring schools to publish information on their websites so that parents can understand both the progress pupils make and the standards they achieve;
  • Will be introducing a new floor standard, which will be based on the progress made by pupils from the reception baseline to the end of primary school.  A school will fall below the floor only if pupils make poor progress and fewer than 85% of them achieve the new expected standard.

Summary of reforms in key stage 1 and 2:

  • Introduce more challenging tests at key stage 1 and 2 that will report a precise scaled score rather than a level;
  • Make detailed performance descriptors available to inform teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and key stage 2. These will be directly linked to the content of the new curriculum;
  • Improve the moderation regime for KS1 and 2 ensuring that teacher assessments are more consistent.

The Government analysis of the consultation responses, along with the full response, can be found here.  The consultation closed on 11 October.  DfE received 1187 written responses to the consultation, and held discussions at a series of events and conferences.

Consultation: Childminder Agencies and Changes to the Local Authority Role

The Department for Education has published a consultation seeking views on changes to the provision of early education and childcare as a result of measures in the Children and Families Act.

Part A of the consultation is about the introduction of childminder agencies and specifically new draft regulations, including key requirements for those organisations who wish to set up agencies, whilst Part B seeks views on draft regulations which make changes to the way local authorities discharge their duty under section 7 of the Childcare Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”).

The consultation will run until 22 May and can be accessed here

Any organisations interested in setting up a childminder agency in their area can register their interest by contacting [email protected]

Time to invest, time to grow

The Budget announcements for 2014/15 are good news for childcare businesses, with the government creating better conditions for investment in businesses.

Here are three key changes that can positively impact your business:

  • From April 2014 you can benefit from a £2,000 employment allowance that will help you cope with the costs of employing extra staff.

Find out how much you can save using the allowance calculator.

  • The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) has been increased to 500k.  The AIA is a type of capital allowance, which offers a 100% allowance on qualifying capital expenditure in the year of purchase.  This means you can spend up to £500k on equipment, computers, new fittings and furniture for your nursery and all of this expenditure is 100% allowable as a deduction when calculating the taxable profits of your business.  The increase in the level of AIA is time limited and likely to be reduced back to the standard level of £25k before the year is out.
  • If you are a Social Enterprise (including community and voluntarily run organisations) and looking for new sources of investment for your business you can benefit from an increased rate of income tax relief.  The government will set a rate of 30% income tax relief for the Social Investment Tax Relief.  This rate will allow eligible social enterprises to receive a maximum of around £290,000 investment over 3 years.

Planning Changes

From this April, the government has simplified the process for opening nurseries in buildings not currently used for childcare.  This should make it easier for you to find suitable properties that can make excellent nurseries and not have to go through the long process of applying for planning permission to change their use class.

The new regulations will come into force on 6th April.  These create new permitted development rights (PDRs) that will allow offices (B1a use class), hotels (C1); residential institutions (C2); secure residential institutions (C2A) and assembly and leisure (D2) to change use to registered nurseries providing childcare in non-domestic premises (D1).  The PDRs also cover certain types of residential buildings.  You can find the regulations here.

PDRs make it quicker, easier and cheaper for buildings to change use, and create more flexibility within the planning system.  They are set nationally, and seek to strike a balance between allowing individual freedom to carry out development while protecting the interests of neighbours and the wider environment.  For nurseries, you will still have to seek prior approval with regard to transport and highways impact, noise and contamination risks.  However, planning authorities will have to respond within 56 days to any requests – significantly speeding up the process.  You will have still have to get planning permission if you are intending to make major alterations to the outside of the building or if you are planning to put in an entirely new building and, of course, meet all building regulations.

DfE website

The DfE website has transferred to GOV.UK, the single location for all online government information.  You can find out more here.

News from Ofsted

Early Years Annual Report

Today Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has delivered his annual lecture alongside the publication of Ofsted’s first annual report on early years.  Read these here.

Consultation:  Separate Inspection Judgements for Early Years Settings

Ofsted has published a consultation setting out plans to introduce separate inspection judgements for early years settings.

The proposed changes, due to come into effect from September 2014, are designed to ensure inspectors place as much emphasis on this important stage of children’s education as on the quality of provision for 5 to 16 year-olds.

Ofsted wants to hear from schools, parents and other parties about whether they think the plans will provide a more rounded view of those academies and local authority maintained schools that provide early years education.

You can view the consultation here

The consultation closes on 13 May

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