Policy guide: Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements

The revised Early Years Foundation Stage includes new Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements

The change of name to the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements reflects a sharper focus on child protection and all issues relating to safeguarding. While there has been a reduction in paperwork around risk assessments, there is a greater responsibility placed on practitioners to exercise their professional judgement.


What are the changes to child protection?

The revised EYFS includes examples of adult behaviour which might be signs of abuse and neglect. If staff become aware of any such signs, they should respond appropriately in order to safeguard children.

Providers must have, and implement, a safeguarding policy and procedures. These should be in line with the guidance and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children's Board.

The EYFS now requires that safeguarding policies and procedures must cover the use of mobile phones and the use of cameras in the setting.


What is the manager’s role when it comes to checking the suitability of people?

The requirement for providers to check the suitability of managers has been simplified. From September 2012, providers will be responsible for obtaining criminal record disclosures on managers. Currently Ofsted obtains these. Providers must obtain an enhanced criminal records disclosure in respect of every person aged 16 and over who works directly with children, lives on the premises on which the childcare is provided and/or works on the premises on which the childcare is provided (unless they do not work on the part of the premises where the childcare takes place, or do not work there at times when the children are present).

Ofsted is responsible for checking the suitability of childminders and of persons living or working on their premises.


What is the new requirement in relation to staff supervision?

Providers must give staff opportunities for coaching and training, mutual support, team work, continuous improvement and confidential discussion of sensitive issues. Supervision should provide opportunities for staff to discuss issues, particularly concerning children's development or wellbeing, identify solutions to issues and receive coaching to improve personal effectiveness. Providers should ensure regular staff appraisals are carried out to identify training needs.

The requirement for childminders to complete training in the EYFS has been strengthened. In future they must have completed a local authority-approved training course which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS before they can register with Ofsted.


Can 17-year-olds be counted in ratio?

The age of those who can be included in ratios remains 17 under the current requirements. Students on long-term placement and volunteers (aged 17 or over) may be included if the provider is satisfied that they are competent.

There is clarification of the circumstances in which there may be exceptions to the child:staff ratios for childminders caring for children of mixed ages. If they can demonstrate to parents or carers and inspectors that the individual needs of all children are being met, then exceptions to the usual ratios can be made when childminders are caring for sibling babies, or when caring for their own baby. If children aged four and five only attend the childminding setting before and/or after a normal school day, and/or during school holidays, they may be cared for at the same time as three other young children. But in all circumstances, the total number of children under the age of eight being cared for must not exceed six.


Do risk assessments still need to be written down?

Requirements in relation to risk assessment have been adjusted to clarify that it is for providers to judge whether a risk assessment needs to be in writing. Providers must determine where it is helpful to make some written risk assessments in relation to specific issues, to inform staff practice, and demonstrate how they are managing risks if asked by parents and/or carers or inspectors. Risk assessments should identify aspects of the environment that need to be checked on a regular basis, when and by whom those aspects will be checked, when and by whom those aspects will be checked, and how the risk will be removed or minimised.

When it comes to outings, providers must assess hazards and identify steps to remove, minimise and manage them, but it is up to providers to judge whether this needs to be in writing.

The new framework now enables providers to judge whether to put an assessment in writing. However, despite the reduction in paperwork around risk assessments, providers still need to have clear policy and procedures regarding risks to children's safety, review them on a regular basis, and decide when a written assessment would be helpful.


Will my staff need new training?

Effective supervision of staff which provides opportunities for staff to discuss sensitive issues confidentially, and receive training and coaching to support them in continuously improving, is now a key part of the safeguarding and welfare requirements. Thus some managers may need support and training themselves, in order to deliver this.

Safeguarding training needs to include discussion around the need for policies and procedures to be in place regarding the use of mobile phones and the use of cameras.

The new framework now enables providers to judge whether to put an assessment in writing. However, despite the reduction in paperwork around risk assessments, providers still need to have clear policy and procedures regarding risks to children's safety, review them on a regular basis, and decide when a written assessment would be helpful.

In addition to the above, it is important to ensure that the designated lead practitioner for safeguarding is able to provide advice and support to other team members.

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