EYFS Framework 2024: a guide to the changes

We have produced the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide below to help providers understand the changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework which came into effect as of 4 January 2024 (with two changes set to be introduced at a later date that is yet to be confirmed).

All information relates to early years provision in England only.

What changed in January 2024?

All providers

Separate versions of the EYFS for childminders and group settings

The DfE proceeded with plans to create two versions of the EYFS Framework: one with childminder-relevant content and one with group and school-based provider-relevant content.

Supporting children speaking English as an Additional Language

The previous version of the EYFS stated: “For children whose home language is not English, providers must take reasonable steps to provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home”.

This has been amended to: “For children whose home language is not English, providers may take reasonable steps to provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home”.

Collection of physical evidence

The previous version of EYFS stated that: ‘When assessing whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, practitioners should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement and should not be required to prove this through collection of physical evidence.’ 

This has been changed to: “When assessing whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, [practitioners/childminders] should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement. [Practitioners/Childminders] are not required to prove this through collection of any physical evidence.”

Child protection

The previous version of EYFS stated that: “The safeguarding policy and procedures must include an explanation of the action to be taken when there are safeguarding concerns about a child and in the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff and cover the use of mobile phones and cameras in the setting." 

The DfE has now added: “other electronic devices with imaging and sharing capabilities" to this requirement, alongside clarifications to aid understanding of the current requirement.

Qualifications standards document

The DfE has published a qualification standards document setting out the current Level 2 Early Years Practitioner and current and new Level 3 Early Years Educator criteria. This is a technical change: the information contained in the document is already available on various Gov.uk pages, but the government hopes to make this information "more accessible to those seeking to understand the early years qualification standards" by transferring it into one place.

Group settings only 

Changes to the level 2 mathematics qualification

The requirement for Level 3 educators to hold a Level 2 (GCSE or equivalent) maths qualification has been removed. However, this requirement is now applied to certain setting managers.

The Department for Education has confirmed that this change only applies to new managers or managers who move to a new role after these changes are implemented. This means that setting managers employed on or after 4 January 2024 must hold a Level 2 maths qualification, or they must achieve one within two years of starting in the position. For managers already in post, and who remain in the same post, there will be no action to take.

It is important to note that the DfE has confirmed that "the change impacts the requirements set out in the EYFS framework only, and has no bearing on apprenticeship End Point Assessment requirements".

Students and apprentices

Students on long-term placements and apprentices are now able to count within staff:child ratios at the level below their level of study if, and only if, their manager is satisfied that they are competent and responsible. For example, a Level 3 apprentice who is judged by their manager to be performing well could count within the Level 2 staff:child ratios. Alternatively, a Level 6 trainee could be brought into the Level 3 staff:child ratios.

The DfE has confirmed that: "It would be at the discretion of the setting manager to consider the staff in question and determine whether they meet the needs of the children and to ensure their safety. This would depend on the individual students and their level of competence, as well as parental concerns and the length of time they’ve been on a placement".

The Department for Education also recommends that students and apprentices who are included in ratios at the level below their level of study by providers should have a full PFA or an emergency certificate, as level 2 and/or level 3 qualified staff are required to have, adding: "We would recommend that providers consider this when determining if they are “competent and responsible” and that where staff who do not hold PFA certificates are included in ratios in their setting providers are able to provide a rationale for this."


Paediatric first aid

The wording of the paediatric first aid (PFA) requirement in the group and school-based provider version of the EYFS has been amended to make it explicit that all staff who have obtained a Level 2 and/or Level 3 qualification since 30 June 2016 must also hold a valid PFA qualification to be included in the required staff:child ratios.

Suitable people – physical copies of qualifications

The DfE has added a clarification to the EYFS to state that while qualifications must be verified, employees do not have to provide physical copies of their qualifications. This is to "tackle the known issue of some settings refusing to accept digital copies of certificates".

Childminding professionals only

Childminder training requirements

The requirement for childminder applicants to have completed training which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS has been removed, and replaced with a requirement for them to demonstrate knowledge and understanding (not necessarily through formal training).

Key person

Childminding assistants will now be able to hold the role of key person. It will be "the childminder’s responsibility to assess whether an assistant is suitable to take on this role".

Suitable premises

The current reference to ‘kitchen’ on a list of areas that should not be considered in space requirements in the childminder version (in a footnote in 3.58) has been removed.

This section of the EYFS has been updated to state: ‘These judgements should be based on useable areas of the rooms used by the children, not including storage areas, thoroughfares, dedicated staff areas, cloakrooms, utility rooms, and toilets. Childminders should consider what areas within their kitchens are safely usable."

In addition, the EYFS previously stated: “Providers must also ensure that there is an area where staff may talk to parents and/or carers confidentially” (3.62). This has been replaced with: "The consultation proposed the new wording: • “Childminders must ensure […] on request, they can make available an area where they may talk to parents and/or carers confidentially […]”

Early Learning Goals

The DfE has moved the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) from the childminder EYFS framework to an annex to "clarify that the ELGs are to be used as part of the EYFS Profile assessment (usually carried out at the end of reception year by the reception teacher)",  stating that "it is rare that childminders will need to complete the EYFS Profile assessment".

 EYFS Profile and reception baseline assessment

The DfE has significantly amended the existing Assessment section in the EYFS Framework for childminders, including removing paragraphs relating to information to be provided to local authorities. The section also now states that information about the ELGs can be found in Annex B for "those rare circumstances a childminder may be completing the EYFS Profile".

 Child protection

The EYFS previously stated that: “The lead practitioner is responsible for liaison with local statutory children's services agencies, and with the Local Safeguarding Partners (LSP)” 

For clarity, this has been amended to: “In the case of childminders working together, each childminder is responsible for meeting the requirements of their own registration. Childminders must know that they have a shared responsibility when working together for the well-being of all the children present. Therefore, where childminders work together, each childminder also has a responsibility to refer any concerns where another childminder does not continually meet the requirements of their registration” and “Childminders must know how to contact the local statutory children’s services, and the LSP (local safeguarding partners).”

Suitable people

The EYFS previously stated: “Providers must have effective systems in place to ensure that practitioners, and any other person who may have regular contact with children (including those living or working on the premises), are suitable”.

This has been amended to: “Childminders and any assistants must be suitable; they must have the relevant qualifications, training and have passed any required checks to fulfil their roles. Any person who may have regular contact with children (for example, someone living or working on the same premises where the childminding is being provided), must also be suitable.” and “Ofsted, or a childminder’s CMA, is responsible for checking the suitability of childminders, any other person looking after children in the setting, and of any other person aged 16 and over living or working on the same premises the childminding is being provided.”

Paediatric first aid

The requirement for childminders to display paediatric first aid (PFA) certificates has been removed, and replaced with a requirement childminders to make these available on request. 

Certificate of registration

The requirement for childminders to physically display a copy of their certificate of registration has been removed. Instead, certificates are able to be displayed digitally and made available on request.

What's changing in at a later date?

Group settings only

Experience-based route

The DfE intends to introduce a new experience-based route for educators to gain approved status to work within staff:child ratios. This new route would be available to educators holding a qualification identified as meeting most of the relevant Level 3 Early Years Educator criteria. Candidates would meet missing criteria by working in their setting whilst under the supervision of a senior member of staff.

The manager will be required to submit evidence to the DfE that the missing criteria have been met in order for the practitioner to become approved to count in the ratio. Once approved, these educators would be eligible to count within the Level 3 staff:child ratios, though they would not gain a formal qualification.

Level 6 qualifications

The DfE will remove the wording “or another approved Level 6 qualification” from paragraphs 3.45, 3.46, 3.47 and 3.48 to ensure that "practitioners understand that they can only operate in Level 6 staff:child ratios if they hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) or Early Years Professional Status (EYPS)".

More information on this clarification is available here

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