The Government wants all children, regardless of their starting point, to have access to quality early education and childcare, as we know this makes a difference to their outcomes in later life. That is why we have taken the following steps to support the quality of early years provision:
- The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) helps early years providers to prepare young children for school and improve their life chances by requiring them to deliver high-quality provision. The 2014-15 EYFS Profile results show that the proportion of children achieving a good level of development continues to increase – 66% in 2015, compared to 60% in 2014, and 52% in 2013.
- We work closely with Ofsted to ensure a robust regulatory and inspection framework to drive continuous improvement in quality. The sector has responded very positively and the latest statistics show that 86% of early years providers were rated “good” or “outstanding” as of 31 March 2016.
- The quality of the workforce continues to improve, with 87% of staff in full day care settings now qualified to level 3 (equivalent level of study to A-level). We are developing a workforce strategy that will aim to remove barriers to attracting, retaining and developing staff.
- From September 2016, all newly qualified level 2 and level 3 staff must also have paediatric first aid training if they are to count in the EYFS staff:child ratios. This will mean an extra 15,000 staff a year coming into the sector with first aid training, providing vital reassurance to parents that their children will be well cared for.
- We have also introduced the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). Each eligible child will is funded for an EYPP of 53p per hour on top of the rate currently paid for the funded entitlement. This amounts to over £300 a year for a child taking up the full entitlement. Providers have flexibility about how they spend this money in order to improve the quality of provision for eligible children, but are held to account by Ofsted for using it effectively.