Monday, 11 April 2011

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Explained

Children from birth to the end of the academic year in which they have their fifth birthday follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

This comprises the Early Learning Goals (ELGs), which describe the knowledge, skills and understanding which most (although not all) young children should be able to achieve by the end of the academic year in which they turn five. The ELGs cover six areas of learning/ development, all of which are equally important, and none of which can be delivered in isolation from the other. These include:

Personal, social and emotional development

Communication, language and literacy

Problem-solving, reasoning and numeracy

Physical development

Creative development

Knowledge and understanding of the world

Statutory assessment for the EYFS takes the form of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP), which summarises each child’s achievement in the above six areas of learning. There is no testing; practitioners draw on their day-to-day observations of children to build up information throughout the final year of the EYFS. These are 13 assessment scales in total (some areas of learning are sub-divided; for example personal, social and emotional development is divided into three: disposition and attitudes, social development and emotional development) and each scale has nine assessment points, which means a child could achieve a maximum score of 117 points. A child achieving an average of 6 points across each of the 13 areas –78 points in total, would be seen as ready to access the National Curriculum in Year 1.

A few weeks ago Dame Clare Tickell released her 2011 review of EYFS

The Key points of the EYFS Review:

The six areas of learning to be replaced with seven areas

Three prime areas: communication and language; personal, social and emotional development; physical development

Four other areas: literacy, mathematics, expressive arts and design, understanding the world

The 69 Early Learning Goals covering the areas of learning should be reduced to 17

Early years practitioners to carry out a child development check with children between 24 and 36 months of age

A summary report of the check should be included in the ‘red book’, which all parents are given and kept alongside their child’s health records

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile to be ‘slimmed down’ to take account of changes to the number of Early Learning Goals

The EYFS Profile should include a simple scale to measure whether children’s learning and development at the age of five is emerging, expected or exceeding the Early Learning Goals

Ministers should consider the findings of the Advisory Panel for Food and Nutrition and provide guidelines for healthy eating and nutritional requirements for under-fives to early years practitioners

A graduate-led early years workforce should continue to be an aspiration for the Government
Entry qualifications to early years should be of a high standard consistent with the NNEB qualification

Communication and language should be given greater emphasis than literacy in young children’s development

The Full Dame Tickle Review 2011

DfE: Foundation Stage Profile Attainment by Pupil Characteristics in England, 2009/10

DfE Press Notice: Early Years Foundation Stage to be radically slimmed down

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