We are delighted to present another of our guest blog’s about the revised Early Years Foundation Stage. This article has been written by one of our colleagues from West Sussex’ School Effectiveness.
From September 2021, all early years providers must follow the new early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework.
The key aims of the reforms are to:
- improve child outcomes at age 5, particularly in early language and literacy, especially for disadvantaged children; and
- reduce workload, such as unnecessary paperwork, so that practitioners can spend more time interacting with the children in their care
The revised EYFS places a stronger emphasis on supporting children’s early communication. There is significant research about the impact of children’s early communication skills on their educational attainment and on their life chances. The early years gives a window of opportunity to narrow the attainment gap before children start school and evidence shows that if this gap is not closed before children start school, it will usually widen as children go through school. The revised EYFS gives an opportunity for all early years practitioners to review their support for children’s communication and language development in order to ensure that all children have opportunities to engage in appropriate, stimulating learning experiences that will build their communication and language skills.
The revised EYFS places a strong emphasis on ensuring that the learning experiences provided meet the needs of all, particularly with a focus on inclusivity. Early years providers should have ambitious expectations for all children, whatever their background or learning needs. To effectively implement the EYFS, early years practitioners need to have a detailed knowledge of early child development to ensure they can support children appropriately and to identify children who are experiencing delay in the learning and development so that they can identify and provide the support that child needs to make progress in their learning and enable them to reach their full potential. Providers may wish to use specific assessment tools to support them in identifying the needs of children experiencing delay in their learning and development, but most children will not need detailed assessment and tracking of progress.
The reduction in practitioner workload and the removal of pressure on early years providers to complete excessive paperwork, will free up teacher time to be with the children and support their learning. The most valuable resources within an early years setting or school is the adults. Children will learn from the sensitive interactions of well trained adults who know the children and can carefully scaffold children’s learning to support them to make the next steps in their learning journey.
Early years settings and schools will not be expected to produce data as evidence, but they will be expected to be able to talk about the children in their setting/school, the progress they are making and the support being provided to ensure each child’s needs are being met. Early years settings and schools should be able to talk about the intentions of their curriculum, how this is implemented and the impact for the children within the setting.
Within the revised EYFS, there is a greater emphasis on supporting oral health as this is now part of the welfare and safeguarding element of the framework. Providers are expected to promote oral health in their setting to reduce the preventable tooth decay and the numbers of tooth extractions currently seen in children aged 0 to 5 years. As well as the impact on children’s health, poor oral health will also impact on children’s speech, language and communication development and their social and emotional development. The most effective way to improve child dental health is to embed it in all children’s services, at strategic and operational levels. Early years providers will need to consider how they embed these messages within their curriculum as well as how they promote oral health in their partnership with parent.
The revised EYFS has changes to the Educational Programmes of the Seven Areas of Learning and there are changes to the Early Learning Goals, which are the statements of expected outcomes for children at the end of the Foundation Stage. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) remains statutory, but the exceeding judgement has been removed and the local authority (LA) no longer has a statutory duty to moderate judgements, although EYFSP data will be submitted to the LA and the Department for Education.
The revised Development Matters document outlines seven key features of effective practice:
- The best for every child
- High quality care
- The curriculum: what we want children to learn
- Pedagogy: helping children to learn
- Assessment: checking what children are learning
- Self-regulation and executive function
- Partnerships with parents
These features can be used by providers as a prompt to review and develop the quality of their provision. Early years providers will need to identify the area where their provision already meets the requirements of the revised EYFS and where changes are needed. They will then need to identify steps they need to take to make required changes as well as planning ongoing review of their provision to make sure that it continues to meet the needs of the children and families accessing their provision.
All early years providers must follow the new reformed EYFS framework from September 2021. You can view new framework and access a range of materials to help you to understand and prepare for the changes on the Foundation Years website. how the changes affect you.
The Department for Education funded Pen Green to deliver online training, addressing the most common concerns of providers across the country. View recordings of these sessions on the Pen Green website.
To ensure practitioners supporting early years children have the information and support they need to implement the changes consistently, a new online service is being launched. To access the service please click here and select “Resources and support for nurseries, childminders and preschools”