Plans to strengthen safeguarding rules in the EYFS out for consultation

Posted: 24th April 2024

Plans to ensure individuals working in early years settings have reference checks, and new requirements to follow up if a child is absent from nursery for a prolonged period of time, are some of the measures set out in a new early years safeguarding consultation.

The Department for Education said the consultation aims to strengthen safeguarding in the EYFS.

Plans out for consultation are changes to the EYFS with specific reference to the safeguarding and welfare requirements.

Key proposals include clarifying the role of the ‘designated safeguarding lead,’ strengthening requirements around reporting and following up on child absences, safer recruitment practices like reference checks, enhanced safer eating guidance, and more detailed safeguarding training criteria with a new Annex C.

Early years consultant and trainer Alison Featherbe welcomed the plans and said, ‘This consultation aims to provide clarity and ensure continual development through robust safeguarding measures for early years providers.

‘While some proposals may increase workload, many providers already have in place robust policies and procedures that are aligned with the proposed changes. The consultation affirms best practices, increases understanding of roles and responsibilities and provides an opportunity to review and strengthen safeguarding protocols.’

The consultation proposals include:

  • Amendments to promote safer recruitment including new requirements to obtain references and requiring safeguarding policies to include procedures to follow to help ensure recruitment of suitable individuals.
  • Creation of new requirements for following up if a child is absent for a prolonged period of time and amendments to ensure providers hold additional emergency contact details.
  • Creation of new requirements to ensure safer eating.
  • Creation of a safeguarding training criteria annex and a requirement for safeguarding policies to include details of how safeguarding training is delivered and how practitioners are supported to put it into place.
  • Amendments to clarify that early years students and trainees are required to have paediatric first aid (PFA) training.
  • Amendments to ensure that children’s privacy when changing nappies and toileting is considered and balanced with safeguarding need.
  • A small number of other minor changes to the structure and wording of the safeguarding requirements to improve clarity.


On changes to the childminding requirements, Tina Maltman, executive director of Childminding UK, said, ‘While we of course welcome any measures that will help to keep children safer, care needs to be taken to not overburden childminders.

‘We know that the majority of childminders do not employ or plan to employ assistants, so to expect all childminders to include information about safer recruitment how they train assistants in their policy could seem excessive for childminders and confusing for parents who need to read and absorb policies and not skip over them. There is a case for having policy requirements that are different for those who employ assistants and those who don’t.

‘We welcome a national timeframe for refreshing safeguarding that is included in the EYFS. The Inspecting Safeguarding document used to state that Designated Leads complete safeguarding training every 2 years. We feel that a 3 year requirement is too long. To make children safer, we feel it should move to an annual refresher or at least be set at 2 years.

‘We also welcome the move to include the term Designated Lead into the EYFS and we were disappointed when it was removed in the January version as this made the requirement less clear for childminders.

‘We also feel that it is a shame these amendments couldn’t have been decided and included at the same time as the current EYFS requirements.’

The eight-week consultation runs from 22 April – 17 June and is available here

SOURCE – Plans to strengthen safeguarding rules in the EYFS out for consultation | Nursery World

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