EYFS Changes 

Q: When will the new statutory framework be released and when will it need to be implemented? 

A: Subject to parliamentary procedure, we are aiming to bring the majority of these changes into force in January 2024. Two further changes, that will introduce an experience-based route allowing skilled and knowledgeable staff a way to work in ratios if they do not already have an approved qualification,   and clarify the qualifications required to operate in Level 6 staff:child ratios, will be introduced at a later date. 

The frameworks will be published shortly.  

Q: When does the new paediatric first aid requirement come into force? 

A: The paediatric first aid requirement is not new, but the wording has been changed to make it clearer. 

Level 2 and level 3 staff qualified since 30 June 2016, need to have a valid PFA certificate in order to be included in the required staff:child ratios relevant to their qualification. We have had feedback that the current wording has been confusing, and some practitioners were not aware that their PFA certificate needed to be renewed every 3 years in order to continue to be included in the ratio requirement. The policy intention of this requirement is to help keep children safe by increasing the number of PFA trained staff within a setting. This requirement will come into effect from January 2024. 

Q: What do you mean by electronic devices? 

A: Mobile phones, cameras and other electronic devices with imaging and sharing capabilities that may be used in settings. 


Q: Why are you removing the Level 2 maths requirement for early years practitioners?  

A: Ministers have decided to remove the level 2 maths requirement for early years practitioners as they know this can be a barrier to settings releasing the full potential of their highly qualified and experienced staff. With this change, settings will have the necessary flexibility to deliver the transformative childcare entitlements announced at the Spring Budget. 

Q: What will the impact be of removing the Level 2 maths requirement for early years practitioners?  

A: Practitioners are currently required to hold a level 2 maths qualification in addition to their approved early years level 3 qualification, to work within the ratios. This means that someone can qualify as a level 3 early years educator, but still be unable to work within the ratios at this level (and progress their career) if they do not have the maths qualification. This change will enable all level 3 practitioners to use their skills and experience to their full potential, while giving settings necessary flexibility to deliver the transformative childcare entitlements announced at the Spring Budget. 

Q: Will the maths requirements also be changing for T Levels and apprentices, if so when? 

A: The removal of the level 2 maths requirement for early years practitioners recognises the current barrier to realising the full potential of skilled and experienced staff. Changes to T Level and apprenticeship requirements are set separately. DfE are keeping the maths requirements for apprenticeships under review to ensure we are striking the right balance in equipping apprentices with good maths skills without putting up unnecessary barriers to starting or completing an apprenticeship.  

Q: Will be a grant to support managers to achieve maths requirement? 

A: Adults who don’t have a GCSE in maths at grade 4 (or equivalent) can study a range of qualifications for free through the Government’s Skills for Life guarantee. Skills for Life offers free qualifications, from entry level up to level 2.  

The Department has also invested in maths training for early years practitioners through phase 3 of the Professional Development Programme, and by launching a new maths module through the universally accessible early years online child development training. 

Q: What counts as a Level 2 maths qualification? Is this GCSE etc? 

A: Suitable level 2 qualifications in maths are:  

  • functional skills qualification in maths at level 2 
  • GCSE or International GCSE qualification in maths to at least grade C (grade 4) 
  • key skills qualification in application of number at level 2 
  • A level or AS level qualification in maths or pure maths and/or further maths to at least grade E 
  • O level qualification in maths to at least grade C 
  • CSE grade 1 maths 
  • Basic skills certificate level 2: certificate in adult numeracy 

Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh equivalents are also recognised.  

Q: Do all managers have to hold level 2 in maths?  

A: The Department is now making it clear that new managers of early years settings must hold a level 2 maths qualification. This is because we recognise that as the leaders of their settings, managers should have the skills and knowledge to ensure that learning is to a high standard. However, this change will not apply to managers currently in post, while they remain in their current position. Managers will also have a grace period of two years to gain a level 2 maths qualification when they start in a new position.  

Adults who don’t have a GCSE in maths at grade 4 (or equivalent) can study a range of qualifications for free through the Government’s Skills for Life guarantee. Skills for Life offers free qualifications, from entry level up to level 2.  

Q: If there’s such an importance on maths then why is the requirements for training in maths being removed? 

A: Ministers have decided to remove the level 2 maths requirement for early years practitioners as they have heard this can be a barrier to settings realising the full potential of their skilled and experienced staff. With this change, settings will have the necessary flexibility to deliver the transformative childcare entitlements announced at the Spring Budget. 

But they also recognise that it is vital for maths to be taught to high levels at all stages of education, especially the early years. That is why the Department has invested in maths training for early years practitioners through phase 3 of the Professional Development Programme, and by launching a new maths module through the universally accessible early years online child development training. 

Q: What qualification do I need to operate in Level 6 staff:child ratios? 

A: To operate in Level 6 staff:child ratios you must have been awarded Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS), Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) or Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  


Q: Why do you think childminders do not need to undertake training to deliver the EYFS anymore?  

A:  We want prospective childminders to gain the required understanding of the EYFS in the way that best suits their needs. We know that some applicants will have existing knowledge, such as from previous careers in nurseries or as a childminder’s assistant, or they may prefer independent learning. The requirement for applicants to demonstrate that they understand and can implement the EYFS will continue to be tested in the same way at the pre-registration visit – the Department is simply providing more flexibility in how applicants can acquire this knowledge. Childminders will continue to be required to undertake training in child protection and paediatric first aid and will still be able to undergo EYFS training courses if they feel that they need to. 

Q: Are childminders able to apply for the startup grant before they have an Ofsted registration number? 

A:  You have to complete your Ofsted or childminder agency registration before applying. If you are not registered as a childminder, you can find out more about becoming a childminder.

Q: Is there a difference in the grant childminders can access for setting up their own business depending on whether they join an agency or not? 

A: New childminders who register with Ofsted will be eligible to receive a £600 grant, and new childminders who register with a Childminder Agency (CMA) will be eligible to receive a £1200 grant.  

Q: When will the link be available for the childminders to apply for the grant scheme? 

A: Apply for a childminder start-up grant – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The link went live on 30 November 2023. You can apply for a start-up grant if you registered as a new childminder on or after 15 March 2023. 

Q: Can childminders previously registered with Rutland CMA apply for the Childminder grant when registering with Ofsted or a new CMA? 

A: Only childminders who had completed their registration as a new childminder with Rutland on or after 15 March 2023 are eligible to apply for the grant. 

Q: Why is there a difference in ratios for childminders for children under 5? 

A: There is a difference in ratios between childminders and other early years settings due to childminders often working alone or with a smaller number of adults than group-based providers like nurseries. This may make it more difficult for childminders to ensure the safety of a larger number of children in an emergency situation. Therefore, allowing childminders to look after fewer young children allows them to keep the children in their care safe.  


Q: What training do childminders need to do to ensure they are suitably knowledgeable in SEND provision? 

A: We recognise the importance of having qualified, trained and experienced childminders working with children in early years with SEND and emerging SEN. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework states that all early years providers, including those registered with an early years childminder agency, must have arrangements in place to support children with SEND.  

Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as SENCO, and childminders who are registered with a childminder agency or who are part of a network, may wish to share that role between them. SENCOs can support childminder practitioners to identify appropriate provision and access additional resources when caring for children with SEND. The DfE is funding training for up to 7,000 early years Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) resulting in an accredited Level 3 EY SENCO qualification. SENCOs working in group-based and childminder settings are eligible for this package of support. 

The DfE has also designed a package of workforce development for early years practitioners and leaders, who are key to supporting disadvantaged children and children with SEND. We have launched new universally accessible early years online child development training, which is aimed at helping early years practitioners improve their knowledge of child development, so they can best support children in early years education settings. The training is free to access and builds on the reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and supports our aims of improving outcomes and closing the attainment gap at age 5. More modules and training videos will be added during 2023 and 2024 covering holistic development, mathematics, planning for inclusive learning, effective observation and assessment as well as supporting individual needs in the early years. 

Q: The EYFS 2021 reforms report suggests that more can be done to support children with SEND. What are you doing in this area/to address these concerns? 

A: We want to continue to work with the sector on how we can continue to embed the reforms and what else DfE can be doing to support settings. This includes supporting children with SEND:  

On 2 March 2023, the government published the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan in response to the green paper. The Improvement Plan outlines our approach to building capacity to achieve the behaviours and culture required for the successful implementation of these policy reforms. As part of these reforms: 

  • We are developing good practice guidance to support consistent, timely, high-quality transitions for children and young people with SEND and in alternative provision. 
  • We will create new National SEND and AP Standards for identifying and meeting needs, covering early years, schools and post 16 provision. The standards will clarify what good evidence-based provision looks like, and who is responsible for securing it. 
  • In partnership with NHS England, we are funding the Early Language and Support for Every Child (ELSEC) pathfinders that will trial new ways of working to better identify and support children with SLCN in early years and primary schools. 
  • We are funding training for up to 7,000 early years Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) resulting in an accredited Level 3 EY SENCO qualification. The Level 3 EY SENCO training became available in October 2022 and will run until August 2024. 
  • We are reviewing the operation of SEN Inclusion Funds and will work with local authorities, providers and stakeholders to understand what improvements would support better outcomes for children with SEND. We are also reviewing other associated elements of the wider current early years funding system, to ensure early years SEND funding arrangements are appropriate and well-targeted to improve outcomes for all pre-school children with SEND, and also to support the introduction of a national framework for bands and tariffs as per the SEND-AP Improvement Plan. 


Q: How and when will parents be able to apply for the new entitlements and from what term will children be eligible?  

A: The process for parents claiming the entitlements will be the same as under the current system, with eligibility checks processed through HMRC. Parents will remain able to check what childcare support they are entitled to via the Childcare Choices website. 

From the 2 January 2024, eligible working parents of two-year-olds will be able to apply for a code for the new 15 hours entitlement. Parents have until 31 March to apply for a code, with the best time in mid-January to the end of February, in case they need to provide further information to support their application.   

From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare per week (over 38 weeks a year) from the term after their child’s birthday. 

A child will need to have reached their 2nd birthday on or before 31 March 2024, and their parents will need to have successfully applied to be able to claim for the two-year-old funding from the 1 April 2024.   

Q: What is the hourly funding rate?   

A: The local authority hourly funding rates are determined using the early years national funding formulae (EYNFF). These formulae consider the different costs of delivering early years provision in different parts of the country. 

The formulae include a base rate for each child, which is the same minimum funding for every child, no matter where they live or whether they have additional needs. This is based on the core costs of childcare provision and was informed by the review on childcare costs. 

On top of the base rate, we provide more funding for additional needs factors. This is based on the proportion of children in each area who have additional needs, and uses the following measures: deprivation, English as an additional language (EAL) and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We do this to reflect the higher costs of meeting these children’s needs. 

The hourly rate is then modified using the local area cost adjustment (ACA) to account for factors like staffing and premises, the costs of which vary across the country. This approach only increases funding; it never reduces the base rate or additional needs funding. 

The formulae ensure funding is distributed fairly and transparently across the country, targeting areas where it is needed most. 

Each year, we publish step-by-step tables to show how we calculate the hourly rates given to each local authority. 

Q: Can providers decide not to offer funded hours? 

A: Providers do not have to offer the government’s funded hours. 

Q: Why are the entitlements only available in term times?  

A:  The entitlements work out at 15hrs or 30hrs a week over 38 weeks of the year. However, parents can stretch their child’s entitlement by taking fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year (although hours cannot be compressed into fewer than 38 weeks per year). Your local authority will be able to help you by providing details of childcare settings who offer this option.  

Q: Is there additional funding available for vulnerable children? 

A: We are introducing a new formula for the working parent entitlement for children aged 9 months up to 2 years old, and for both 2-year-old entitlements. There will be different rates for 2-year-olds and under 2s (and the under 2 rate will be higher to reflect higher costs at the younger age group) but the formula will be the same. 

For this new formula, we are following the shape of the existing 3- and 4-year-old formula. This formula will be made up of a universal base rate of funding for each child, an additional needs factor, and an area cost adjustment to reflect variations across England. 

We are using the same proxies for the additional needs factor as in the 3-and-4-year-old formula (Free School Meals, English as an Additional Language and Disability Living Allowance data) as we believe they continue to be appropriate, and will continue to meet our aim of ensuring that more money reaches local authorities where the incidence of children with additional needs is greater, reflecting the extra costs associated with narrowing the gap in outcomes and supporting children’s early education.  

There is one difference in the additional needs factor, which is that we have introduced an additional deprivation measure. We are introducing a measure using the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and using that alongside FSM as proxies for deprivation, and for low level SEN (which we know is correlated with deprivation). The Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) measures the proportion of children in an area living in income-deprived families. 

Further, we have increased the hourly rate for early years pupil premium (EYPP) in line with the national average increase to 3- and 4-year-old rates.  

We will extend the early years pupil premium (EYPP) eligibility to all eligible 2-year-olds and under 2s accessing the early education entitlements for 2024-25. Extending eligibility will provide additional funding, on top of the core hourly funding rate, to support children in the younger age groups accessing the entitlements from more disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Q: Can Local Authorities choose to apply different rates? 

A: Local authorities are responsible for setting individual provider funding rates in consultation with their providers and schools forum, and fund providers using their local funding formula. In setting their local funding formula, all local authorities are required to use the same base rate for all providers. On top of the base rate, additional funding can be paid to providers to reflect local needs through the use of supplements, although supplements are capped at a maximum of 12% of the total funding to providers. 

Supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds remains a priority. For this reason, for 2024-25 we will require local authorities, through regulations, to ensure that the total funding rate (that is the base rate, plus supplements if applicable) they pay to providers for the disadvantaged 2-year-old entitlement is at least equivalent to the total funding rate for the 2-year-old working parent entitlement. 

Q: Are there any plans to fund further wraparound providers, such as through Local Authorities, as many schools wraparound provision is already full? 

A: The government is investing £289 million over 2 years to support the expansion of wraparound childcare for primary school-aged pupils. 

The government’s ambition is for all parents of primary school children who need it to be able to access childcare in their local area from 8am – 6pm.This will help to ensure that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours and with flexible hours. 

This funding will support local authorities to work with primary schools and private, voluntary and independent providers including childminders to introduce or expand childcare provision between 8am and 6pm and enable them to test flexible ways of providing childcare and gather evidence of what works. 

Parents of primary school aged children will still be expected to pay to access this provision, as this programme aims to increase the availability of childcare, rather than subsidise childcare, but support with costs will be available to eligible parents through Universal Credit childcare and Tax Free Childcare.    

Q: Will there be any more funding to increase salaries? 

A: In 2024-25 alone, we are investing over £400m additional funding to deliver a significant uplift to the hourly rate paid to local authorities for the entitlements. This includes £67m new funding to reflect the increase in the National Living Wage from April 2024, £57m in recognition of teacher pay and pension costs in 2024, as well as the £288m additional funding announced at Spring Budget in March 2023. This investment builds on the £204 million of additional funding provided in 2023-24 (paid from September 2023).  

Q: Why has it taken so long to get the funding rate out to providers? 

A: On 29 November, we published the government’s response to this consultation, alongside the final 2024-25 local authority hourly funding rates for the existing and new early years entitlements. This provides further detail on funding for the existing early years entitlements and the new working parent entitlements in 2024-25 and enables local authorities to begin their internal planning processes ahead of April 2024.  

DSG allocations will be published in December in the normal way. 

Q: The wording “free” is confusing – what does it include? 

A: Our statutory guidance is clear that all parents should have access to a free place, completely free of charge. This means that a provider cannot charge parents “top-up” fees. A provider cannot use the free entitlement funding as a discount / subsidy towards their fees and charge parents the difference between the funding they receive from the local authority and the fee they would normally charge. Providers must not require parents to pay a registration fee as a condition of taking up their child’s free place. 

To ensure that parents can make informed decisions on their choice of childcare, providers should publish a statement of how they deliver the free entitlements and any additional charges for optional activities outside of the entitlement. This should set out clearly the charges for meals, optional activities or additional hours.