The Department for Education (DfE) have made two recent policy changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) disapplications guidance, in light of latest COVID-19 developments. DfE are working to update other sector facing guidance to reflect these changes in the coming weeks.
DfE have also published a document designed to support early years PVI providers and local authorities to make their Early Years Census 2021 returns.
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.
This is in recognition of the additional pressures and uncertainties that teachers are facing during this challenging time. This also aligns with the approach on KS1 and KS2 assessments this year. However, DfE recognise that the EYFSP is a valued assessment by teachers and early years professionals and is a crucial tool in supporting children’s development and the transition from reception to year 1.
It is for that reason DfE will be asking teachers and early years practitioners to use their best endeavours to still complete the EYFSP for children in the summer term if at all possible and to provide this important information to parents and to year 1 teachers, should the situation at the time allow. This will be a judgement for schools and teachers depending on their individual circumstances and will in many cases depend on the coming weeks and months.
We know many schools found they could complete the EYFSP in 2020, particularly due to its nature as a teacher-led assessment. Schools who decide they are able to complete the EYFSP this year and provide this information to parents and year 1 teachers will not be subject to statutory external moderation. There will be no requirement to submit data to the local authority or to confirm whether they have completed the EYFSP to DfE.
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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.
This is in recognition of the fact that some practitioners are facing difficulties in accessing requalification training due to courses being cancelled. If asked to do so, providers should be able to explain why the first aider has not been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps have taken to access the training. Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.
This change applies to schools who are early adopters of the Early Years Foundation Stage reforms, as well as schools who are following the current statutory framework.
DfE have published a document designed to supplement the Early Years Census 2021 Guide in order to support early years PVI providers and local authorities to make their Early Years Census 2021 returns accurately and consistently.
The Early Years Census 2021 is intended to reflect the provision made available to parents/guardians, and a provider’s usual expected attendance in the week commencing 18 January 2021. This remains the guiding principle behind all the scenarios outlined in the document.
The intention is to ensure parity of approach to counting of funded entitlements across both the School Census and the Early Years Census.
Where a provider is counting a child on the census, the place must be genuinely ‘available’: this means a provider must not count a child where they have furloughed the staff who would be required to deliver the child’s place.
National lockdown restrictions are in place in England. Early years settings and childminders can remain open and parents can continue to use these settings as normal. The rationale for this decision can be found here.