Sunday, 1 July 2012

The revised EYFS (2012) - Frequently asked questions… answered

Also uploaded onto Google docs

Something to remember - the EYFS 2012 is not a new document. It is a document which has evolved out of the original version - the EYFS 2008. Before producing the revised document there was a lengthy consultation period during which comments were invited from childminders and all those involved in using the EYFS.

Questions and answers about the EYFS

Where can I find a copy of the EYFS (2012)?

You can download a copy from and print it yourself. If you change your printer settings to ‘draft’ and print double sided it will not be expensive to print a copy of the EYFS requirements document. The Development Matters guidance document has a lot of colour because of the photos - you might want to keep a copy on your computer or…

You can buy printed copies of the Development Matters guidance from Early Education - price £5.75 including P & P (correct July 2012) or copies of the EYFS (2012) and Development Matters guidance document from NDNA - price £9.50 (correct July 2012).
There are various sellers producing the documents on EBay but I cannot comment on the quality.

When do I have to start using the revised EYFS?
The revised EYFS is law on 1st September 2012. You must use it from that date. There are some suggestions that inspectors will give a little leeway in when the EYFS is introduced to give providers the opportunity to embed the new requirements - however I have not seen this in writing from Ofsted and suggest you are ready to go with the EYFS (2012) from 1st September.

How can I share the EYFS with parents?
There is an information guide for parents on the website or, if you prefer, you can design your own. It must contain details about how parents can find out more information about the EYFS if they are interested.

Do I still need to be registered with environmental health as a food business?
Yes, you do still need to be registered - this is a local requirement, not part of the EYFS. Whether or not you need training as a food handler depends on your local authority requirements. If you work in a group setting the rules are slightly different and one of you will need training.

Do I still need to be registered with the Information Commissioners Office?
Yes, the EYFS (2012) still requires you to handle data and comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. If you record data electronically (on a computer) or use a digital data eg a digital camera to take photos of children you will need to register -

Do I have to learn different languages to meet children’s needs?
You are referring to EYFS 2012 requirement 1.8 which states that you 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’
No, you do not have to learn different languages - but you do need to consider how you meet the needs of children who speak languages other than English (or your home language) and whether you can support them effectively in both English and their home language.

Questions and answers about observations, assessments and planning

Have observations, assessments and planning changed?
There are some changes… mostly to the areas of learning and development. There are now 7 areas instead of 6. The 7 areas are split into 3 prime areas which are the most important areas for children’s learning and development, including -
• Personal, social and emotional development
• Physical development
• Communication and language

There are then 4 specific areas of learning which support children’s learning in the prime areas and enhance their learning experiences. The 4 specific areas cover -
• Literacy
• Mathematics
• Understanding the world
• Expressive art and design.
You can find out more by reading the Development Matters guidance document which can be downloaded from

Do I still need to record starting points for a new child?
Yes, you need to do everything the same as now -
• Ask parents for information about the child
• Observe the child to note the starting points on their learning journey
• Assess observations to check how the child has progressed so far
• Reflect on how you can enhance relationships and the environment to support ongoing learning and development (see the Development Matters guidance for more information)
• Plan exciting, stimulating playful experiences for the child
• Make sure activities and routines planned for the child are shared with parents / carers
• Note how the child’s next steps / individual planning has been followed up
• Note how the child is progressing - via the 2 year progress check which is a requirement and any other summary assessments you feel are appropriate

Do I still need to write planning?
The EYFS says that you should show evidence of a range of planning for children including -
• Adult led planning - where the adult decides the activity, the learning intentions and goals etc and supports the children through the activity
• Adult guided - where the adult supports the child but allows the child to develop their own learning
• Child initiated - where the adult sets up the learning environment to ensure children can be independent in their play.
How you show you are providing this range of planning is up to you. I would suggest you keep your planning as it is now, linked closely to children’s observations and assessments and showing how it follows their interests and learning styles.

How will I know if I have enough paperwork for a child?
The EYFS says that paperwork must not take you away from the children or be excessive. This means you can look at how much you currently write and decide whether it is appropriate for the child, the time the child is with you etc. As long as it shows the child now and how the child is progressing you will have done ‘enough’.

What is the 2 year progress check?
The 2 year progress check must be written when the child is between the ages of 2 and 3, to link in with the child’s Health Visitor check. It must be handed to parents - who have been asked for their comments to include in the check.
The progress check will highlight areas where children are progressing well and help identify areas where children might need further support.
There is more information including a detailed explanation of the 2 year progress check on the website in a ‘Know How Guide’ produced by the National Children's Bureau (NCB). I have written a mini e-book about the 2 year progress check which you might find useful - it is mini e-book 78 on my website.

Do I need to do anything new?
Yes there is a new requirement in the observation, assessment and planning cycle. At the moment you are required to inform parents about how their child is getting on and share their Learning Journey document regularly with home, asking parents to comment where appropriate.
From September, you will need to work even more closely with parents to make sure the child’s learning and development is progressing at home as well as in the provision. You will do this by providing ideas for sharing learning with home.

Is it a good thing that there are less Early Learning Goals in the revised EYFS?
The Early Learning Goals (ELGs) are not normally relevant to childminders. They are covered by teachers during the last term of the child’s reception year at school. As childminders do not need to deliver the full EYFS to school age children who attend before and after the school day and in the holidays, you will not need to deliver the ELGs.

Is anything else new?
Yes, there is a new requirement to note the characteristics of effective learning in relation to each child. There are 3 characteristics of effective learning -
• Playing and exploring
• Active learning
• Creating and thinking critically
The characteristics link to how children learn and can be used when planning experiences for children, to ensure their learning needs are met.
I have written detailed information about the characteristics of effective learning - you will find an e-book on my website.

A child attends part time - 2 days a week / 1 day a week / more than 2 hours at a time - do I still need to deliver the EYFS?
Yes, you do… the child is entitled to the same quality learning and development experiences with you as a full time child. You must also work with the child’s parents and any other settings the child attends to ensure you complement his learning experiences elsewhere.
However, you will not be with the child long enough to reflect in the same ways about their learning and development as you are with, say, a child who attends your provision 4 or 5 days a week. You will need to work in close partnership with parents and others to ensure the child’s needs are fully met.

Should I still tick off how a child is progressing on the Development Matters document?
No, the Development Matters guidance must not be used as a tick list. It can be used as a guide to sensitively note how a child is progressing, but it must not be ticked when a child has achieved something.
You will notice that the Development Matters guidance document is much shorter than previously and a lot of the areas of learning have changed / been linked together. This will make it harder for you to find statements that directly link to what a child is doing or saying. You should remember that the Development Matters guidance was never meant to show everything a child does or says… it is a guide to child development which must be supplemented by further reading on the subject.

Questions and answers about paperwork

When do I need to change my paperwork?

There are some changes you must make by 1st September, including updating your safeguarding policy and procedure to include information about mobile phones and camera use in the provision.

The new EYFS says policies and procedures do not need to be in writing - so why do I have to update my safeguarding policy?
Certain policies and procedures are required because of your registration on the Childcare Register (2010) including safeguarding / child protection. You can find the Childcare Register requirements on the Ofsted website.
It will still be good practice to have a set of written policies and procedures to share with parents and Ofsted. You will struggle to explain them all verbally, especially to parents who might forget what you have said or be visual learners (so any information given verbally does not ‘stick’) or to Ofsted inspectors during an inspection or who are visiting you because a complaint has been made.

Are policies and procedures the same for the EYFS and Childcare Register?
No, there are some differences - for example the EYFS and CR requirements for handling complaints are different. You will need to refer to both documents when you write your policies and procedures.

Do I still need to write risk assessments?
The revised EYFS (2012) states that you need to consider whether or not risk assessments need to be in writing - and how you will share them with parents, Ofsted etc if you do not have them in writing.
While a written risk assessment does not keep a child safe, it is important for showing evidence of how you have worked to control the child’s environment to ensure risks are minimised.

What about risk assessments for outings - do I still need to write one for every outing like my Ofsted inspector requested?
Again, you need to reflect on how you keep children safe and think about the steps you will take to ensure their safety in different types of venues.
You might find that a written risk assessment helps you to put your thoughts in order… and makes it easier to share risk assessment information with parents and Ofsted.

How can I get children ready for school?
The term ‘school readiness’ has crept into the EYFS and worries a lot of child-centred childminders who want to ensure children’s early experiences are playful and fun.
You should be reassured that school readiness is not about formal, sit down learning - it is about ensuring children have the skills and knowledge to cope in a school environment. They need to be able to put on their own shoes and coats, know how to make friends, blow their own noses, listen for a few minutes when an adult or other child is sharing information with them etc.
Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families says – ‘Yes we want to prepare children for starting school – being prepared for school is not simply about knowing letters and numbers. It is about making sure that children are ready to make friends, to play, to ask for what they need and say what they think.’
Childminders can support children to be ready for school by following advice in the Development Matters guidance document and focussing on the prime areas of learning and development during their planning and interactions with children.

Questions and answers about ratios
Are ratios still the same for childminders?
Yes ratios are still…
• 6 children under the age of 8
• Of whom 3 children can be under 3
• Of whom 1 child can be under 1
Some childminders have different (lower) ratios set by their inspector - these will still apply.

I have 2 under the age of 1 on my certificate - will that still apply?
No it will not be there because your ratios are flexible and can be changed in exceptional circumstances. From September, you will be in charge of deciding whether or not you can manage the needs of 2 babies under the age of 1, not Ofsted.
Are wrap around and holiday children still classed the same as other children?
No, the rules have changed - when caring for wrap around (before and after the school day) and holiday children childminders no longer have to meet the full requirements of the EYFS. However, they must show evidence of having spoken to the child’s other setting and parents to ensure their learning in the provision complements their experiences elsewhere.

Will my own child be taken out of my numbers?
No, my understanding is that the registration certificates which are being sent out to all childminders will be slightly different from September. They will give you a total amount of children under the age of 8 for whom you can care.
You will be responsible for ensuring you include your own child(ren) in the ratios before taking on childminded children. For example, if you have…
• 1 child under the age of 3 - you would only normally be able to care for 2 more children under 3 unless there were exceptional circumstances.
• 2 children of your own under 8 years - you would only be able to care for a further 4 children before you are capacity.

Are variations still going to be handled the same way?
No - there are some changes to the ways variations will be organised from September. Ofsted will not award variations - instead childminders will have to follow the rules in the EYFS (2012) to determine whether ratios can be changed in exceptional circumstances.
There is further guidance planned from Ofsted to clarify how variations will work.

Is more information about variations available?
I have written a document about variations and had it checked by Ofsted so I know the information in the document was correct on the day it was written. My disclaimer is clear that information can change and there might be other local authority requirements with which you have to comply before granting yourself a variation.
My variations document is uploaded into free downloads on the Childminding Forum.
Ofsted have also stated that there will be more information to follow.

Questions and answers about other requirements

Will I need a new CRB check for the revised EYFS?

No, your CRB check is still valid. If you do not have a CRB check because you were registered before CRB checks came in and you have a police check that is still valid.

Is it a requirement to do a first aid course?
Yes, it is still a requirement to have a first aid qualification and the course must be local authority approved. If an assistant is left alone with children they must also have an up-to-date paediatric first aid qualification.

Is it a requirement to do a safeguarding course?
The lead safeguarding practitioner (the childminder) must attend a child protection training course taking account of any advice from the LSCB or local authority on appropriate training courses. This means that the local authority must approve the training course.

Will I still need to attend training?
The EYFS says that you should regularly consider the training and development needs of all staff (including yourself) to ensure you are always offering a quality learning experience for children.

Questions and answers about inspections from September

What is the focus of Ofsted inspections from September?

The focus will be on the child - how well the child is progressing in the provision and how the prime areas of learning and development are being supported. The prime areas of learning are noted above. Inspectors will look at how children’s wellbeing is supported in the provision. They state that there will be more focus on the children and less on the childminder’s paperwork. If there is a need for early intervention, Ofsted will want to see how the provision is sharing information with parents and the child, to ensure support is in place.

Will I still need to complete a self evaluation form (SEF)?
The SEF will still be available for completion online - Ofsted say they are revising it and making it shorter. It will remain an optional document rather than statutory - however, inspectors will want to know how you are self evaluating with the aim of constantly improving and enhancing your provision so if you choose not to use the SEF you should consider how else you can document your improvement.
When the SEF is updated by Ofsted I will revise my guidance document.

What will the inspection judgements look like?
There will be 4 judgements made during the inspection -
• Overall effectiveness
• Meeting the needs of the range of children
• Contributing to the well-being of children
• Leadership and management.

Will the grades I am awarded after inspection change?
There was a consultation about changing the wording of the inspection grades and it was decided that they will remain the same -
• Outstanding
• Good
• Satisfactory
• Unsatisfactory

Will complaints still be handled in the same way?
No, there are some changes - if you have a minor complaint made against you Ofsted might ask you to investigate it internally and report back with the results of the investigation. However, if you have a safeguarding complaint you will undergo a full inspection. This will help the inspector to get a feel for your business and the ways you work, rather than simply focussing on the wording of the complaint.

When will the Ofsted inspection handbook be published?
Ofsted state that the new Early Years Framework is due to be published at the end of June… as it is 1st July today I am sure we will not be waiting for much longer!

More help and advice
If you have any further questions about the revised EYFS, please do not hesitate to ask! I can be contacted via the Childminding Forum -
Or you can ask me a question on my Facebook page -

References etc
• EYFS (2012) and related documents
• Childcare Register 2010
• E-book 16 ‘EYFS Meeting the Standards’ and various other e-books and mini e-books from Knutsford Childminding and the references therein
Disclaimer - however carefully researched my material might be it is not possible to guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information. I therefore accept no liability for any inaccuracies or any loss or damage arising from the use of or reliance on the information.
About websites - in places this document links to other websites. I cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites.
About information taken from EYFS statutory documents - information has been taken from the following source – Information sourced from the Department for Education has been reproduced as per the Open Government Licence for Public Sector Information, which can be viewed on the following website – The source of the information is acknowledged as EYFS © Crown Copyright 2012.
Copyright protection - each page of my work is clearly copyrighted, either to Sarah Neville or to Knutsford Childminding and is covered by UK copyright law. Please ask me before sharing this document if you are unsure about the whether you are violating my copyright.