The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework that sets the standards that all Early Years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children are ready for school and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
The revised, simpler framework for the EYFS was published on 27 March 2012, for implementation from 1 September 2012.
This is an integral part of the Government’s wider vision for families in the foundation years. It demonstrates our commitment to freeing professionals from bureaucracy to focus on supporting children.
Together with a more flexible, free early education entitlement and new streamlined inspection arrangements, this is a step towards a lighter touch regulatory regime. The Government will continue to seek to reduce burdens and remove unnecessary regulation and paperwork, which undermine professionals’ ability to protect children and promote their development.
The new EYFS framework makes a number of improvements:
A written ministerial statement announcing the publication, and supplementary documents, are available on the Department's website.
A range of non-statutory guidance and other materials has been produced by the sector to support the framework, and is available on a number of Early Years websites including the Foundation Years website.
Voluntary food and drink guidelines are available to help Early Years providers and practitioners meet the nutritional needs of children aged one to five. They include practical support tools to help practitioners understand and use the guidelines.
A summary of the EYFS for parents, co-produced by the sector, is also available on the Foundation Years website. This has been developed to help ensure parents know what the EYFS is and what they can expect from the professionals working with their child.
The Department has also produced a summary of key reforms to the framework as follows:
Guidance to support the new EYFS profile (from 2012-13) is now available. There are three publications:
Following trials of the new EYFSP assessment over the summer, the Government has now set out how the new Good Level of Development measure will be defined. From 2013, children will be defined as having reached a good level of development at the end of the EYFS if they achieve at least the expected level in:
As Dame Clare Tickell’s review of the EYFS made clear, the prime areas of learning are essential for children’s healthy development. The Government also believes that a good foundation in mathematics and literacy is crucial for later success, particularly in terms of children’s readiness for school. We want to encourage schools to strengthen children’s knowledge and understanding in all these important areas.
However, all areas of learning within the EYFS are important and the GLD measure will be supported by a measure of the average of the cohort’s total point score across all the early learning goals in order to also help to promote the attainment of all children across all the early learning goals.
From 26 October 2012, new arrangements exist for exemptions from some or all of the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. This follows a consultation on proposed new arrangements conducted over in summer 2012. Please see the exemptions consultation report and Government response to this consultation for more information. Exemptions arrangements are set out in the EYFS (Exemptions from Learning and Development Requirements) Regulations 2008, as amended in 2012.
The Direction setting out the circumstances and conditions under which independent schools may be exempt from the learning and development requirements of the EYFS has now been published
Any independent school (not including academies or free schools) which meets the eligibility criteria can opt to be exempt from some or all of the learning and development requirements. Further information on eligibility criteria and the process for securing exemptions are included in The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Learning and Development requirements: Guidance on exemptions for Early Years providers.
This guidance also includes details for any Early Years provider wishing to apply for exemptions from the learning and development requirements on the grounds of conflict with established principles.
Please note that any exemptions granted before 1 September 2012 applied only to the 2008 EYFS framework and expired on 1 September 2012. Any providers seeking learning and development exemptions in respect of the 2012 EYFS framework will need to apply again.
Parents can seek exemptions from the learning and development requirements on behalf of individual children in certain circumstances. For more information see The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Learning and Development requirements: Guidance on exemptions for individual children.
The EYFS requires that staff working in Ofsted-registered childcare have an Enhanced Criminal Records check. From 1 July 2013 these checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service will be no longer be subsidised.
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Statutory guidance from the Department, covering statutory assessment and reporting requirements for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
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Information about the 2013 Early Years Foundation Stage Handbook guidance document.
An overview of the EYFS Profile exemplification materials.
Information about the Government's decision to withdraw the subsidy for enhanced criminal records checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for Ofsted registered childcare from 1 July 2013 and the new DBS updating service.
Help and support for parents from pregnancy right through to when their child is five.