EYFS framework sets out providers' responsibilities

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The DfEShas revised the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and is consulting on the requirements that will be given legal force. Here is our concise guide to the new document. Purpose and aims The EYFS aims to help young children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes of staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being.

The DfEShas revised the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and is consulting on the requirements that will be given legal force. Here is our concise guide to the new document.

Purpose and aims The EYFS aims to help young children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes of staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being.

Context and legal responsibilities The EYFS, mandatory from September 2008, builds on the current Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, Birth to Three Matters and the National Standards for Under Eights Daycare and Childminding, all of which will be will be repealed.

About this document The EYFSStatutory Framework document forms part of the statutory framework for the EYFS and sets out its learning and development, and welfare requirements, with which early years providers must comply. It also contains statutory guidance issued pursuant to Section 44 (4) of the Childcare Act 2006. All providers must give regard to this guidance, and if they decide to depart from it, they must make clear their reasons to Ofsted and demonstrate that their alternative approach achieves the same ends as the guidance conveys.

This document is part of a package which also comprises:

* EYFS Practice Guidance (contains learning and development grids, non-statutory guidance, additional advice and information)

* EYFS resources for providers and practitioners (CD, poster and Principles into Practice cards).

Principles

* The EYFS principles are grouped into four themes:

* A Unique Child

* Positive Relationships

* Enabling Environments

* Learning and Development.

* These themes underpin effective practice in the EYFS, put the requirements into context, and describe how practitioners should support children's development, learning and care.

* Each theme is supported by four commitments which describe how the principles can be put into practice, and these are expanded on in the EYFS Principles into Practice cards.

* The four themes underpin five aspirations through which children will be able achieve the Every Child Matters outcomes:

* Setting the standards Providers should deliver individualised learning, development and care which enhances each child's development and gives them the best possible start in life. Every child should be supported individually to make progress at their own pace, and children who need extra support to fulfil their potential should receive special consideration.

* Providing for equality of opportunity

* Creating the framework for partnership working between parents and professionals

* Improving quality and consistency

* Laying a secure foundationn for future learning through ongoing observational assessment, a flexible and responsive approach to a child's learning and development needs, and coherence between a child's home and early years settings.

Learning and development requirements These comprise three elements:

* the early learning goals - the knowledge, skills and understanding which young children should have acquired by the end of the academic year in which they reach age five

* the educational programmes - the matters, skills and processes which are required to be taught to young children

* the assessment arrangements - the arrangements for assessing young children to ascertain their achievements (through ongoing observations gathered from a wide range of learning and teaching contexts and the Foundation Stage profile).

Welfare requirements Safeguarding and promoting children's welfare

* The provider must take necessary steps to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the setting.

* The provider must promote children's health, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection and take appropriate action when they are ill.

* Children's behaviour must be managed effectively and in a manner appropriate for their stage of development and particular individual needs.

Suitable people

* Adults looking after children, or having unsupervised access to them, must be suitable to do so.

* Adults must have appropriate qualifications, training, skills and knowledge.

* Staffing arrangements must be organised to ensure safety and to meet the needs of the children.

Suitable premises, environment and equipment Outdoor and indoor spaces, furniture, equipment and toys must be safe and suitable for purpose.

Organisation Providers must plan and organise their systems to ensure that every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and development experience.

Documentation and reporting Records, policies and procedures required for the safe and efficient management of the settings and to meet the needs of the children must be maintained.

Meeting the requirements

* The requirements are set out in three sections:

* overarching general requirements

* specific requirements

* guidance.

* Providers must comply with all the requirements and should have regard to the guidance. Ofsted will base its regulatory and inspection judgements on whether a provider has met the general and specific requirements, and had regard to the guidance.

* See News, page 4

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