Back to Listings

84% of providers produce more paperwork than required

By Rachel Lawler


paperwork early years

Early years providers are producing more paperwork than they need to do, according to a new survey.

The new survey was part of a project led by the Alliance, working in partnership with the Department for Education and Ofsted. It found that 84% of respondents felt that they were producing more paperwork than the EYFS required them to do.

Additional admin

70% of survey respondents said they were producing additional paperwork in case an Ofsted inspector asked for it, while 59% were producing additional paperwork to meet their own internal standards.

Local authorities were also a source of additional administration with 35% of respondents producing extra paperwork to meet their requirements. Almost a third of practitioners were producing additional paperwork in a bid to protect themselves against parental complaints.

Conflicting information was another concern, with 42% of providers saying they had received contradictory information about reporting incidents or concerns from different agencies or organisations.

Minds Matter

The survey followed the Alliance's Minds Matter report which revealed a number of wellbeing concerns in the early years sector. Paperwork was highlighted as a significant source of stress for early years practitioners.

Focus on children

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “We’re pleased that Ofsted and the Department for Education have agreed that our top priorities must be to address the ‘just in case’ approach we have heard so much about from the providers who took part in our research, as well as inconsistency, duplication and complexity at local authority level.

“No paperwork should be so burdensome that it causes stress or directs time and attention away from the learning experience of the child. This is why we are working to develop practical solutions so that providers can feel more confident during Ofsted inspections and when working with local authorities.”


Wendy Ratcliff, an Ofsted inspector specialising in the early years, said: “Inspectors and providers involved in EIF pilot inspections said they welcome the move away from looking at assessment data.

“The early years inspection handbook makes clear that we’ll spend most of the inspection observing and discussing children’s experiences and learning, and not looking at unnecessary paperwork. We continue to work hard to bust myths about inspection and paperwork. We’ll keep these survey findings under review as we introduce the new framework.”

The DfE is now working in collaboration with the Local Government Association to understand the additional paperwork requirements placed on providers and any opportunities to streamline these.

Read more

Read the Minds Matter report