Consultation Hub

This site hosts consultations run by the Department for Education. Public participation is important to the development of our policies and guidance so please have your say.


Open Consultations

Closed Consultations

We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We asked

We asked for views on our proposals to make changes to fees for children’s social care providers and to set a minimum inspection frequency for the secure children’s homes element of secure 16-19 academies.

You said

Close to half of respondents (44%) told us that the proposed fee increase would have no or a minor impact. Whereas 39% told us that it would have a moderate impact and 18% told us it would have a major impact.

The majority of respondents (63%) agreed with our proposal that secure 16-19 academies should be subject to the same number of minimum inspections as secure children’s homes.

We did

The results of the consultation have been set out in a report on the website. Based on these results, the department has decided to implement a 10% increase in fees for children’s social care providers not paying the full cost rate and set a requirement that the secure children’s home element of all secure 16-19 academies is subject to a minimum of two Ofsted inspections a year.

We asked

We asked for views on the following proposals:

  • changing the current statutory minimum staff:child ratios in England for 2-year-olds from 1:4 to 1:5
  • making the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework (EYFS) explicit that childminders can care for more than the specified maximum of three children under the age of 5 if they are caring for siblings of children they already care for, or if the childminder is caring for their own baby or child
  • making the EYFS explicit that “adequate supervision” while children are eating means that children must be in sight and hearing of an adult.

You said

A small number of respondents agreed with the proposals to reform 2-year-old and childminder ratios, whilst most respondents disagreed with the proposals. This was a consistent finding across all of the different types of respondents, such as parents, group-based providers and organisations representing the sector. The Government recognises that although most respondents to the consultation disagreed with the proposal on 2-year-old ratios, there was agreement from a number of respondents. This corresponds with evidence gathered via the Natcen survey, which demonstrated that 19% of all group settings (those with and without 2-year-olds) would be likely or very likely to make changes to 2-year-old ratios.

Regarding changing the EYFS wording to clarify that childminders can make exceptions to the statutory minimum ratios for their own children and siblings of children in their care, the majority of consultation respondents disagreed with proposals, although there were some positive responses. These clarifications are intended to support childminders with greater flexibility around the choice of provision they can offer. By clarifying this wording, we intend to support childminders who may care for siblings as well as babies. We recognise that not all childminders may enact this change, but given the small number that have indicated they would find this change beneficial, Government has concluded that this change will be worthwhile.

Regarding supervision whilst eating, we heard from a number of respondents and a substantial majority agreed with the proposal. When asked about their views, people commonly referred to safety reasons for children, such as spotting choking incidents or allergic reactions. A minority of respondents disagreed.

We did

You can read the Government’s response to the consultation in full on the Childcare: regulatory changes - GOV.UK ( webpage.

Based on these results, the department has decided to proceed with all proposals to amend 2-year-old ratios from 1:4 to 1:5, and to amend EYFS wording around exceptions to childminder ratios. The proposed changes to ratios will continue to be a statutory minimum requirement for settings, and there will be no obligation on providers to operate at the statutory minimums – i.e. providers can continue to work to tighter ratios if they decide that is best for the children and staff at their setting.

Government has also agreed to proceed with the proposal to amend wording around supervision whilst eating to ensure children are within sight and hearing whilst eating. 

The changes outlined in this document are part of a wider package of investment in the childcare sector announced on 15 March, to support more parents into work. Alongside the substantial investment in the existing free childcare hours offers, these new staffing flexibilities for providers are a sensible and proportionate step, alongside government’s additional investment, which will help meet the demand among newly eligible parents for childcare support.

We asked

We asked for views on proposed updates to the early years funding formulae and reforms to maintained nursery school supplementary funding.

You said

The majority of respondents agreed with almost all of the proposals set out in the consultation.

We did

We have therefore updated the datasets in line with our proposals – with a couple of minor exceptions, and made the technical amendments. The revised formulae have been used to determine the early years entitlements hourly funding rates for 2023-24.