As the new term is well underway, we’re catching up with the breaking early years news from over the summer…
Early Years Foundation Stage Profile
This spring, the Department for Education announced a u-turn on their plan to replace the EYFS Profile with the introduction of baseline assessment in schools this academic year. They have now confirmed that the EYFS Profile will remain statutory for the new 2016-17 academic year.
New roles in government
New British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has appointed Justine Greening as Secretary of State for Education. Under her, Caroline Dineage is now the minister responsible for women, equalities and early years, while Edward Timpson is responsible for vulnerable children and families. The Department for Education team is completed by Robert Halfon (apprenticeships and skills), Jo Johnson (universities, science, research and innovation), Lord Nash (the school system) and Nick Gibb (school standards). Rural childcare comes under the remit of environment minister Therese Coffey.
There has been much debate about how Britain’s exit from the European Union may impact on the early years sector. But at this early stage, before Article 50 has even been triggered, this is impossible to predict…
Some speculate that it may be possible for childcare businesses to benefit from any VAT exemptions that may be secured once Britain has left the EU. Others express concerns about a possible gap in the industry workforce occurring should the status of the three million EU migrants currently living in the UK not be protected – it is possible that they may have to leave the country or that either they, or their employers, will be required to purchase work visas in order to stay on. In addition, there is concern that future recruitment of workers into the industry may fall if there is a barrier preventing new migrant workers from taking up roles. There may also be an impact on future education and research funding.
At this time of uncertainty, our sector, like the rest of the country, will no doubt be waiting with baited breath to see how the impact of Brexit plays out over the coming months and years.
First aid quality standard
A voluntary “gold standard” for first aid, developed by the National Day Nurseries Association and the Department for Education has been launched for providers who have trained all of their staff team in pediatric first aid. It comes after the death of Millie Thompson in 2012, who died choking on food in a nursery. Her parents launched a campaign calling for all staff to be trained as they felt more could have been done to help their daughter. In addition, from this September, changes in the EYFS mean that all newly qualified Level 2 and Level 3 staff cannot be counted in staffing ratios unless they have received the appropriate first aid training.
Reporting child abuse
The Home Office and Department for Education are currently reviewing whether to make it a criminal offence for those working in childcare, education, social care and healthcare to fail to report and take action when they suspect that a child is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, from child abuse (including neglect). If the measure is brought in, individual professionals, as well as organisations, could be prosecuted if found guilty of the offense.
We end our round up on very encouraging news – the latest Ofsted figures show that the number of nurseries graded Good or Outstanding at their Ofsted inspection has risen to a record 86%.