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Coronavirus: EYFS changes
The EYFS profile assessment is no longer mandatory for 2021, but you must prioritise trying to undertake it. Be clear on which temporary changes to the rest of the early years framework apply to you if local or national restrictions affect your setting.
21 January 2021: we’ve updated this article to reflect that:
- The EYFS profile assessment for 2021 is no longer mandatory, but you must prioritise trying to undertake it
- If you have a staff member with a PFA certificate that expired on or before 1 October 2020 and they can’t requalify due to coronavirus restrictions, their certificate can be extended until 31 March 2021
- The transition period until 25 November 2020 for the original disapplications has now passed
This article summarises the EYFS: coronavirus disapplications statutory guidance from the DfE.
Make sure you're also clear on the reforms to the EYFS framework, which you'll have to implement from September 2021 at the latest.
EYFS profile assessment is no longer mandatory for 2021
However, you must still use your 'best endeavours' to complete it in the summer term and provide information to year 1 teachers and parents. This applies regardless of whether coronavirus restrictions are affecting your setting (see section below).
If you undertake the EYFS profile assessment, you will not be:
- Subject to statutory external moderation
- Required to submit data to your local authority (LA)
- Required to confirm to the DfE that you completed it
You must meet EYFS requirements unless coronavirus restrictions mean you can't
When do coronavirus restrictions affect my setting?
The term ‘coronavirus restrictions’ refers to any local or national restrictions imposed until 31 August 2021 - so at the moment, it refers to the national lockdown in England.
Your setting is 'affected' when:
- There are government restrictions and requirements in place, and
- These restrictions mean you’re unable to deliver the requirements of the EYFS
During a national lockdown or local restrictions, this may be because:
- A number of your staff are required to self-isolate
- Your staff are unable to get to work because they live in an affected area, even if it’s not the same area your setting is in (relevant if there are local restrictions)
Your setting is not affected by coronavirus restrictions if:
- There's a confirmed case of coronavirus in your setting, but your ability to deliver the EYFS isn't otherwise affected by the local or national restrictions in place
Summary of disapplications to the EYFS framework
The below disapplications, or changes, apply to you if coronavirus restrictions are affecting your setting
However, you must prioritise meeting the paediatric first aid (PFA) requirements over the other changes.
As soon as coronavirus restrictions stop affecting your setting, you have a 2-week transition period to lift all of the below changes.
The changes don't apply if your setting isn't affected
This means you must meet EYFS requirements as usual, unless you're in the 2-week transition period as outlined directly above (note that you're not required to complete the EYFS profile assessment - see the first section of this article for more details).
Paediatric first aid (PFA) requirements
Staff member with an expired certificate?
If a staff member’s certificate is due for renewal and they can’t attend requalification training due to coronavirus, their certificate can be extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest. This is for certificates that expired on or after 1 October 2020, and includes PFA providers registered on the General Childcare Register as well as Ofsted registered early provision.
You’ll need to be able to explain, if asked, why the staff member hasn’t been able to requalify, as well as the steps you’ve taken to access the training.
If the staff member you usually turn to can't be on site, you need to take all possible steps to find someone qualified. Contact your local authority if you're struggling, as they may be able to help you find someone who:
- Has a PFA certificate and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check from a local provider who has closed; or
- Is a registered local childminder with a PFA certificate and DBS check who's approved to work on non-domestic premises
If this isn’t possible, you must carry out a written risk assessment and make sure someone on site has a current:
- First aid at work certificate; or
- Emergency PFA certificate
The risk assessment should feature all relevant factors, including:
- The number of children on the premises
- The staff to child ratios
- The types of activities undertaken with the children on the premises
- The likely need for first aid based on the needs of the children attending the premises
- First aider knowledge among staff on the premises
- The mitigations available to reduce the risk of such an incident
You need to make sure the written risk assessment is available on request, but you don’t need to send it anywhere.
Help your staff achieve the full PFA certificate
The DfE suggests arranging online training to help your staff members with first aid at work or emergency PFA certificates to achieve the full PFA qualification.
It points to this Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance to help you choose a provider.
New staff entrants (level 2 and level 3)
During the COVID-19 outbreak, these individuals won’t need to hold a full PFA or emergency PFA certificate within 3 months of starting work to count in staff to child ratios.
Staff qualifications and ratio requirements
Staff ratios remain the same as pre-coronavirus, except for maintained nursery classes where a school teacher cannot be present.
You do have a bit of leeway, if needed, as to the qualifications staff hold in order to be counted in the ratios. You should try to make sure at least half of staff (excluding the manager) hold at least a full and relevant level 2 qualification – but this isn’t a legal requirement.
You do still need to make sure there’s always a member of staff who holds at least a full and relevant level 3 qualification.
See section 8 of the DfE’s guidance for details on the staffing ratios for your setting.
Try to meet existing learning requirements
No progress check at age 2
You don’t need to carry out a progress check for children aged between 2 and 3.
But you do need to keep an eye out for any emerging concerns and provide support where needed.
And after the changes are lifted, you'll still be expected to carry out a progress check for any children who haven't yet turned 3 (and for some children who have turned 3 if you and their parents think it's appropriate).
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