Some early years settings have recently made me aware of the new Early Years Foundation Stage 2017 – including some changes affecting safeguarding guidance.
The EYFS sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All Ofsted-registered early years providers in England must follow the EYFS, including: schools, childminders, preschools and nurseries. It aims to give professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.
As well as being the core document for all professionals working in the foundation years, the EYFS framework gives parents and carers the confidence that regardless of where they choose for their child’s early education, they can be assured that the same statutory commitments and principles will underpin their child’s learning and development experience.
A large part of the EYFS is taken up with guidance concerning safeguarding children matters, including:
- child protection
- staff recruitment, qualifications and training
- key workers
- managing behaviour
- safety and suitability of premises, environment and equipment
- special educational needs
- information and record keeping.
The new revised EYFS was published on 3 March 2017 and will come into force on 3 April 2017, and has a number of updates regarding safeguarding that should be noted. Here are the major changes in the most recent EYFS:
- The need for staff training to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of female genital mutilation is clarified.
- There are references to new and updated statutory government advice and guidance (e.g. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, and the Prevent Duty Guidance 2015), which were published since the EYFS was last updated in 2014.
- The booklet ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’ March 2015 is cited as helpful.
- The document for schools ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2016 is now also deemed helpful for other early years practitioners outside of schools, including the information on safer recruitment, allegations and code of conduct for staff.
There is now a requirement that to count in the staff:child ratios at level 3, staff who hold an Early Years Educator qualification must also hold a level 2 English and mathematics qualification (English and Maths GCSEs at grade C or above or equivalent).
- There is a new paediatric first aid (PFA) training requirement which stipulates that all newly qualified entrants to the early years workforce with a level 2 or 3 qualification must also have either a full paediatric first aid or emergency PFA certificate within 3 months of starting work.
To read the new EYFS: