Out of School Alliance - Help and Support for Out of School Clubs

Tickell review of EYFS

How does it affect out of school clubs?

Dame Clare Tickell published her review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) on 30 March 2011, and made a series of recommendations for improvements to EYFS.

The review acknowledged that EYFS has improved the outcomes for children in the Early Years age range, though it has been seen as fairly cumbersome and bureaucratic by some childcare practitioners. The aim of Dame Tickell's recommended changes is to reduce the bureaucracy, whilst still providing appropriate building blocks for the future development of the child.

Main recommendations

The main recommendations of the review are that:

  • The EYFS framework should remain a mandatory requirement for all early years providers
  • The main focus should be on three 'prime' areas of learning which are: communication and language; personal, social and emotional development; physical development
  • There will be four other areas of learning: literacy, mathematics, expressive arts and design, and understanding the world
  • The early learning goals should be reduced from 69 to 17.

We have had a read through the review and have picked out the other main points which will affect out of school settings.


Points 2.9 - 2.10 The report supports exemptions for private schools and Montessori settings, saying that these should be made easier to obtain, but makes no mention of exemptions for settings providing wrap around care.

Special consideration for out of school clubs

Points 2.13 - 2.15 Recognises that wraparound care—in which she includes out of school clubs—cannot be expected to deliver EYFS in full and will take note of this in the EYFS. This should make life somewhat easier for providers of out of school care, although the review suggests that it be left to Ofsted to decide how this should be assessed.
"I recommend that guidance for wraparound and holiday provision is embedded in the EYFS and that Ofsted continues to ensure that it is embedded throughout the inspection process."

Qualifications for holiday club staff

Point 2.16 Holiday clubs will be able to accept staff with a level 2 playwork qualification, rather than an early years qualification - this is good news, but does rather overlook the shortage of staff with any kind of level 2 qualification who are willing to work for a few weeks over the summer.
"I recommend that the Skills Active playwork level 2 award is included as a relevant level 2 qualification for holiday providers. This would mean that holiday play schemes are still run by skilled staff, but that more freedom is given to play providers."

Sensible approach to staffing ratios

Point 4.13 As long as the overall ratio of staff at the setting is correct, short periods of time when a member of staff is not available to care for the children (eg if they pop out of the room to take a child to the loo, or to fetch a cup of tea) are fine. This is a helpful clarification.
"I recommend that it is made clear in the EYFS that when ratios are met and maintained across the whole provision within an early years setting, it is left to the professional expertise of the staff, and the leaders and managers of the settings, to work with parents and carers to agree exactly how staff are deployed within the setting throughout the day. However, it should also be made clear that the majority of practitioners' time should be spent working directly with the children."

Risk assessments not required for outings

Point 4.15 Dame Tickell also recommends that written risk assessments should not be required for outings.
"I also recommend that practitioners should not have to undertake written risk assessments in relation to outings, but instead be able to demonstrate, if asked - for example, by parents or during inspection - the way they are managing outings to minimize any risk."

Use of mobile phones

Point 4.8 The review suggests that it is not appropriate to ban the use of mobile phones from settings, as it would be impractical for many settings, but that settings should provide clear guidance for their use.
"Inappropriate usage of mobile phones includes instances where phone calls or texts take practitioners' attention away from supervising young children, or where camera phones are used to take images of children or support abusive practice. However, banning mobile phones would create difficulties, for example where children are taken on outings, or where a setting is based in a hall without phone facilities.. I would expect safeguarding policies to set out clearly how mobile phones should or should not be used in settings, reflecting the individual circumstances of individual settings, and ensuring that their usage is properly monitored. Therefore, I do not recommend banning mobile phones in early years settings."

Level 3 qualification

Point 5.4 Dame Tickell recommends that the government should commit to promoting level 3 as the minimum qualification for working in childcare settings. This is an admirable aim but currently would cause major problems for out of school settings which struggle to recruit staff with Level 3 qualifications.

Timescale for changes

Whilst these recommendations will ease the burden of paperwork for early years providers, these recommendations have not yet been adopted as law. The Department for Education will be responding to the report in the summer, but any changes will not be implemented until autumn 2012 at the earliest.

More information

For further information read the Tickell Review in full.