The statutory framework in England is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). All early years providers – childminders, nurseries, pre-schools etc – must comply with all parts of the EYFS unless they have applied for and gained an exemption.
The EYFS sets out the minimum standards for early years childcare in 3 sections:
**The learning and development requirements.
**The assessment requirements.
**The safeguarding and welfare requirements.
Note that there are separate statutory frameworks for Scotland and Wales – this information is for providers in England.
The learning and development requirements state that all early years providers must support children’s learning and development. Providers must plan for children’s learning using the 7 educational programmes set out in the EYFS to deliver quality learning experiences and have the highest expectations for every child.
The 7 educational programmes cover how providers must support learning and development in children’s:
**Communication and language – including supporting listening, attention, understanding and speaking.
**Personal, social and emotional development – including developing children’s awareness of their emotions, sense of self, health and safety and supporting positive relationships.
**Physical development – including gross and fine motor skills.
**Literacy – including pre-reading and pre-writing skills.
**Mathematics – including numbers, patterns and spatial connections.
**Understanding the world – including teaching children about the world around them through multi-sensory experiences.
**Expressive arts and design – including imaginative play, music and movement and arts and crafts.
Early years providers and parents can find more information about the 7 educational programmes from the Dept for Education (DfE) on the help for early years providers website.
The assessment requirements state that early years providers must, when the child is between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, complete a written (or typed) progress check at 2 document, ideally in time for parents to share with the health visitor when the child has their 2 year check.
The safeguarding and welfare requirements set out legislation in relation to child protection and aim to ensure children are safe and healthy while in the early years setting.
Ofsted (the Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) inspect early years providers using the EYFS as the underpinning legislation. Ofsted has a separate ‘early years inspection handbook‘ which sets out how they inspect.
If parents would like to know more about the EYFS, they can find a copy on the DfE website here. The EYFS was updated 4th Sept 2023.
A further parent guide to the educational programmes of the EYFS was produced by the DfE – ‘What to expect in the early years foundation stage – a guide for parents’.
If you have any questions about the EYFS or Ofsted inspection, please message me and ask and I will write further short blogs to share information.
Chat soon, Sarah.