Apart from the implications of slimming down the early learning goals and the EYFS profile, the review tackles the fact that managers and their staff have been under increasing pressure to write down everything they do. It recognises that large amounts of paperwork are not needed to support ongoing assessment or to increase the efficiency of inspections.
Administration could also be reduced in the area of risk assessments, with the review placing greater emphasis on practitioners being able to demonstrate safety on outings, for example, rather than writing detailed risk assessments.
Claire Schofield, director of Communications, Membership and Policy at the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) says, ‘Since the EYFS was introduced our members have reported that the administration around it can impact on the time they spend with children - so any moves to free up practitioner time will support children to gain even more from nursery life. However, it is important that any new activities that are outlined in the review – such as the development check – are thoroughly discussed so that they do not add to administration.’
Nurseries are also heartened by the review’s recommendation to retain a commitment to promoting a minimum Level 3 qualification and ambitions for a graduate-led workforce. Its suggestion for the introduction of a new professional qualification that ‘robustly combines practical experience with the development of expert knowledge’ is welcomed by many managers who have complained about ‘dumbing down’ in recent years. The report states that a new qualification should succeed in conferring the equivalent status of the old NNEB.
Child protection is also identified as a specific area for more robust training, with the need for the EYFS to set out clearly the ‘the high level content of the child protection training that lead safeguarding practitioners are required to attend’.
With inconsistency in the inspections process having long been a bugbear for the sector, the review’s recommendations for closer working between Ofsted and local authorities, and clearer guidelines on what settings are required to do, is to be welcomed.
Dame Clare also recommends that Ofsted reviews the training, capacity and capability of the current early years inspectorate with a view to setting minimum requirements for all early years inspectors in terms of their experience, skills and qualifications.
The NDNA emphasises that the potential impact of the review will not be fully understood until the Government publishes its response in the summer. Claire Schofield says, ‘This will outline how it will take forward any potential changes, and these will of course be subject to consultation.'
She adds, ‘It will be interesting to see if the Government will ease the exemption process requirements for certain groups, and we will be looking carefully at how this is achieved in a way that maintains quality if taken forward.’