Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) flexibilities for early years settings

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Jan 14 2022


The government considers COVID-19 to be an exceptional circumstance in which the staff-to-child ratios set out in the EYFS can temporarily be changed, if necessary, for example to respond to COVID-related workforce absences.

In some cases, early years settings may choose to respond to staff and child absences by temporarily mixing age groups of children who would otherwise be educated or cared for separately. Ratios should be guided by all relevant requirements and by the needs of individual children within the group. For the purposes of meeting EYFS ratio and qualification requirements, all staff educating or caring for a mixed age group of children can be considered ‘available to work directly with’ all of the children who have been grouped together.

In all circumstances, settings remain responsible for maintaining the quality of care, safety and security of the children in your setting.

Information for all education and childcare settings on good ventilation

Good ventilation is important in reducing transmission of COVID-19, but it doesn’t mean that children or pupils need to be cold. When CO2 monitors indicate good ventilation, there is no need to keep windows fully open at all times. Opening windows regularly for 10 minutes, or keeping them open just by a small amount, can still reduce the airborne risk from COVID-19 substantially compared to spaces with no fresh air.

We have recently published a blog on the importance of ventilation that you may find useful. For more tips on keeping classrooms warm, see our latest blog on the Education Hub.

Reminder on the temporary suspension of confirmatory PCR tests in education and childcare settings

On Tuesday we updated you on the temporary pause of confirmatory PCR tests. As a reminder, you are only asked to take a follow up PCR test after a positive LFD test if you:

·        wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment

·        have been advised to take a PCR test because they are in a clinically vulnerable group

·        have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme

·        have received a positive day 2 LFD after arriving into the UK

If anyone has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, they are strongly advised to take a PCR test, not an LFD test. If someone with symptoms has already taken an LFD test for any reason and the result is positive, they do not need to take a follow-up PCR test.


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