To support early years providers during the coronavirus outbreak, the government temporarily disapplied and modified certain elements of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework. This was to allow providers greater flexibility to respond to changes in workforce availability and potential fluctuations in demand, while still providing care that is high quality and safe.

Updated – 30 June 2021

Update to EYFS disapplications

In June 2021, the Government made minor updates to the EYFS disapplications guidance. This update was to:

  • Link to the current version of Ofsted’s early years inspection handbook, published on 28 June 2021, for inspections taking place from 1 September 2021.
  • Clarify that the period in which the EYFS disapplications can be used ends on 31 August 2021.
  • Clarify that if government restrictions and requirements are lifted before 31 August 2021, the disapplications can no longer be used as the necessary conditions for using them will no longer be met.

Early years providers should also continue to follow Government’s COVID-19 guidance for early years providers, which includes guidance on the existing flexibilities that exist within the EYFS with regard to staffing ratios.

If you would like to share your views on the disapplications and whether you have used them over the past eighteen months, for example with regard to Paediatric First Aid certificates or to respond to members of staff needing to self-isolate, please email us at

Read the guidance

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile

Ministers have decided it will not be mandatory to complete the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) assessment in 2021 but instead will be asking schools to make ‘best endeavours’ to undertake it.

More information can be found here.

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Paediatric First Aid requalification training

DfE have also taken the decision that if Paediatric First Aid certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the COVID-19 pandemic, or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 1 October 2020.

More information can be found here.

Read the guidance

The original disapplications came into force on 24 April 2020 and were lifted on 25 September 2020. Provisions were made in the regulations to allow for a transitional period of up to 2 months for disapplications around staffing levels to continue in recognition that some providers may need some time to get back to full staffing levels once the disapplications were lifted.

Further restrictions or requirements related to COVID-19 due to a local or national lockdown may affect a provider’s ability to comply with the EYFS. Therefore, government have laid new regulations which came into force on 26 September 2020 and (with the exception of the EYFS Profile disapplication) will allow the disapplications to reapply where a provider is prevented from complying with the EYFS due to coronavirus related restrictions or requirements which have been imposed by government.

Read the guidance

Foundation Years vodcast

Foundation Years hosted a video podcast with DfE to share the latest information and answer your questions on the disapplications when they came into force in April 2020.

Download the slides

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