After the positive response to the top ten most frequently asked questions the foundation years team have collated the different myths about the new EYFS and provided simple answers to help dispel them.

Myth: The new EYFS will do nothing to reduce the amount of paperwork involved

Fact: The new EYFS will include a number of changes to help reduce paperwork including;

  • Reforming the Early Years Foundation Stage to make it clearer and more accessible
  • Cutting the number of learning goals from 69 to 17
  • Reducing the need for written risk assessment so they do not need to be completed for every outing
  • Making it clear the paperwork to support on-going formative assessment should be kept to the absolute minimum required to promote children’s successful learning and development.

Myth: The new progress check at age 2 will create more paperwork for practitioners

Fact: Many settings are already providing parents with feedback. The progress check builds on the existing requirements of the EYFS for practitioners to have ongoing dialogue with parents about their child’s progress.

Myth: The early years is no longer seen as an important stage in its own right?

Fact: In their first few years children learn to walk and run, to speak and communicate, to relate to others, to play, explore their own curiosity, and to enjoy learning through their play, as well as beginning to read and write and use numbers. These are all key elements of ‘school readiness’ and will help prepare children for the transition beyond reception to Year 1.

Myth: The new EYFS is too formal, there is no play involved

Fact: The revised EYFS will ask practitioners to achieve an appropriate balance between adult-led and child-initiated play in supporting children’s learning. In finalising the EYFS, the Government will ensure a clear and strong emphasis on play as an essential vehicle for children’s learning.

Myth: The new EYFS won’t align properly with the National Curriculum because the national curriculum is still being revised

Fact: The EYFS is in part being revised to better align with the National Curriculum and in finalizing the EYFS the Department will take into account the emerging thinking on the National Curriculum review. For the EYFS the Department for Education has refined the early learning goals and the approach to assessment at age 5 having consulted with a number of subject experts including members of the National Curriculum Review expert panel.

Myth: There is little mention of learning and development for children under 2 in the EYFS

Fact: In the new framework the Department for Education has given strong emphasis to the three prime areas of learning which are particularly relevant to very young children. The progress checkat age 2 will help to identify needs for very young children and there will be a development chart covering child development from birth to age 5, which will offer guidance to practitioners supporting children of all ages including under-2s.

Myth: Children are going to be tested at 2

Fact: There is no test of children at 2. The progress check is simply a report for parents based on the practitioners observations of a child and taking account the views of his or her parents. It will highlight areas where children are progressing well and help identify areas where children might need some additional help.

Myth: Health visitors won’t be interested or have time to look at the progress check even if it is shared with them

Fact: The Department for Education is working with health and early years experts to look at the scope to introduce a new fully integrated health and early years review at age two. Depending on feasibility, the aim is that this would be introduced in 2015.

Myth: The Government are testing children at age 5

Fact: A particularly important point of transition is children’s entry to Year 1, and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is the means by which children are assessed just before this stage. EYFSP is not a ‘test’, but a teacher’s assessment based on their observations of the child in their Reception year. The revised early learning goals, slimmed-down and with increased focus on the essential knowledge and skills, form the basis of the proposed EYFSP to be implemented from September 2012.

Myth: By not requiring written risk assessments, children will be exposed to unacceptable risks

Fact: Providers must of course have appropriate policies on risk but this does not mean that they have to prepare a written risk assessment for every activity that they undertake. The government is leaving this decision to early years providers to judge when it is appropriate to have a written risk assessment.

Myth: By not reducing the class ratios the quality of adult/child contact in the classroom will suffer

Fact: The current average teacher/child ratio in schools is currently 26 to 1 and when support staff are included, this falls to 15 to 1.The government will look to see what further lessons can be learned from the Nutbrown review.

Myth: Childminders aren’t required to pass their pre-registration training on the EYFS

Fact: The new EYFS requires that childminders have attended training on the EYFS before they register with Ofsted and start caring for children. It is for local authorities to determine the manner and nature of training that childminders receive in their local area and that practitioners in their local area are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need.

Myth: Ofsted still can’t refuse childminders from registering

Fact: Currently, if childminders do not have an understanding of the EYFS or how they plan to deliver the requirements, Ofsted can only set an action rather than refuse registration. In the future, if Ofsted are not satisfied that applicants have demonstrated their understanding of the EYFS, they will be able to refuse registration.

Myth: There is no supporting guidance to accompany the new EYFS framework

Fact: The Department for Education is currently working with sector colleagues to produce material to support the introduction of a reformed EYFS. This will include

  • EYFS Profile guidance;
  • Remodeled ‘Development Matters’ material in response to the revised areas of learning;
  • Case studies and advice on completing the progress check at age 2;
  • A summary of the EYFS for parents.