Please see message below from the DfE (released Fri 27 Oct), and find attached a toolkit which you can use in your communications with parents: Childcare Choices stakeholders communication toolkit 2023
You can also view the DfE press release Investment in childcare boosted by new resources and online tools - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
As part of the next stage of the government’s delivery of its childcare plan, which is set to save working parents using 30 hours of childcare up to an average of £6,500 per year, we have published a number of announcements this morning.
The announcements today include:
From today, parents up and down the country can see exactly what additional childcare support they will be entitled to over the coming months and years as part of the government’s largest ever investment in childcare.
The updated eligibility checker on childcarechoices.gov.uk is live and allows parents to access personalised information on the support available to them, including which of the new transformational childcare offers they will be eligible for depending on the age of their child and earnings.
The website will also give parents the opportunity to sign up for regular updates letting them know when they should take action to make sure they are getting the support they are entitled to – including when the new 15 hours for two-year-olds becomes available for sign-ups, with the offer beginning in April 2024.
The childminder start-up grant scheme has been confirmed to open for applications by Thursday 30 November 2023. This grant of £600 for those who choose to register with Ofsted and £1,200 for those who choose to register with a childminder agency will help to boost the numbers of childminders working to offer parents more flexible childcare.
As well as this investment, the Department for Education (DfE) has set out its official response to Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) consultation, which ran over the summer.
As you are aware, DfE consulted on a number of proposals intended to offer early years providers increased flexibility and make the EYFS framework easier to navigate and implement. The proposals were informed by extensive engagement with the sector. The majority of the proposed regulatory changes included in the final consultation were suggested by early years providers to make it easier for their settings to utilise their workforce, helping to increase capacity ahead of the rollout of the new entitlements’ in April 2024.
We want to support providers to operate successfully and ensure practitioners can focus on providing children in their care with a high-quality early education and have opportunities to progress their careers. That is why, carefully considering all the responses, Ministers have decided to implement a number of changes to the EYFS framework. Our intention is to implement the majority of the changes from January 2024, subject to parliamentary procedure. This includes no longer requiring the requirement for level 3 practitioners to hold a level 2 maths qualification and creating provider specific versions of the EYFS.
Ministers have decided not to take forward the following proposals;
- Reducing the percentage of level 2 qualified staff required per ratio from ‘at least half’ to 30% or 40% of all other staff (group and school-based providers only).
- Changing the qualification requirements outside of peak hours (group and school-based providers only).
The department has also published an independent evaluation of the landmark 2021 EYFS reforms on early education. It found the changes to the curriculum have benefitted many settings, practitioners and children. Key findings included:
- The majority of leaders and staff thought the 2021 EYFS reforms have had or will have a positive effect on children’s learning and development.
- Leaders generally thought the 2021 EYFS reforms had improved the quality of teaching.
- The majority of settings reviewed and/or made changes to their curriculum and assessment approaches as a result of the EYFS reforms. Most commonly, this involved putting less focus on observation and tracking and spending more time with children instead, which was a key focus of the reforms.
- Many leaders thought the reforms were leading to better quality interactions with children.
Combined, this work demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to delivering the record investment in childcare in a way that makes sure childcare is high-quality, affordable and fits around parents’ working lives.
Today, local authorities will receive details of their allocation from the £289 million wraparound childcare fund, to make sure families of primary school children can access childcare between 8am and 6pm. Funding is being distributed to all local authorities on the basis of anticipated need, plugging gaps in the existing market. It will help deliver the government’s aim that by 2026, no matter where parents live, they should be able to access wraparound childcare for primary-age children in their local area.
We have published today a wraparound programme handbook and the LA funding allocations for the programme.
Also attached is a Q&A document that we have created following the Wraparound LA webinar on 11th October.
Also announced today is a £100 million allocation for local areas to use to make sure childcare settings in their areas have enough physical space, anticipated to add thousands of new places across the country. More detail on the £100m capital funding, including allocation amounts to local authorities and accompanying guidance, will be published shortly.
Should you have any further questions, please get in touch with your Regional Lead, or email us at EARLYYEARS.ENTITLEMENTS@education.gov.uk.