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Ofsted’s annual report calls for changes to the EYFS

By Shannow Hawthorne

Ofsted has released its annual report, announcing that 94% of early years providers are now rated either good or outstanding – up 20% from 2012. It also found that the number of childcare providers has fallen by 16% overall since 2012, with a 26% drop in the number of childminders in the sector largely behind the decline.
The report says that there is “some genuine improvement in the sector” behind these figures, but argues that the EYFS “could be improved to ensure that children are better prepared for the national curriculum”. The report adds: “If the EYFS reflected a genuine preparation for Year 1, inspection outcomes across the sector might not be as high.”
30-hours "a success"
In a speech made at the launch of the report, Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, said that the rollout of the 30-hours offer “has largely been a success” but she added: “I continue to believe that supply could increase further if the government allowed the additional 15 hours to be used for childcare rather than early education.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said that it was “disappointing” to see Ofsted criticising the EYFS.
Neil said: “Let’s be clear: the purpose of the EYFS should never be about ‘preparing’ children for formal schooling. It should be about fostering a love of learning through supporting the broad range of skills, such as physical development and personal, social and emotional development, that children need in order to flourish – both inside and outside of school.”
Neil also responded to Spielman’s comments on the 30-hours policy. He said: “Given that it is now widely accepted that separating early years provision into ‘childcare’ and ‘early education’ is a deeply flawed approach, it is galling to see such a misinformed statement being made by the chief inspector. Such a comment not only suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what early years provision is, but also risks devaluing the professionalism of a highly rated and highly skilled sector."
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