The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

The EYFS framework supports an integrated approach to early learning and care. It gives all professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.

As well as being the core document for all professionals working in the foundation years, the EYFS framework gives mums and dads confidence that regardless of where they choose for their child’s early education, they can be assured that the same statutory commitments and principles will underpin their child’s learning and development experience.

EYFS reforms

In October 2019, DfE launched a public consultation seeking views on changes to the statutory framework for the EYFS. The consultation concluded with changes to the educational programmes, the early learning goals and the EYFS profile assessment.

Find out more about the EYFS reforms

COVID-19: Temporary disapplications to the EYFS

To support early years providers during the coronavirus outbreak, the government temporarily disapplied and modified certain elements of the EYFS statutory framework. This was to allow providers greater flexibility to respond to changes in workforce availability and potential fluctuations in demand, while still providing care that is high quality and safe.

Find out more

Current documents

Statutory Framework 2017

The current EYFS statutory framework has been in effect since 3 April 2017, following updates to the 2014 statutory framework. The main changes are:

  • Inclusion of a requirement that to count in the staff:child ratios at level 3, staff who hold an Early Years Educator qualification must also hold a level 2 English and Mathematics qualification;
  • Inclusion of the new paediatric first aid (PFA) training requirements that were announced in July 2016 via the government response to the PFA consultation, including that all newly qualified entrants to the early years workforce with a level 2 or 3 qualification must also have either a full or emergency PFA certificate within 3 months of starting work.

Download one-page guide to changes to the EYFS

EYFS Profile Handbook

This handbook includes information about how and why EYFS assessments should be carried out and guidance on:

  • How to complete an EYFS Profile
  • Recording children’s attainment
  • Making accurate and reliable judgements about EYFS attainment.

The Handbook should be used alongside the EYFS Assessment and reporting arrangements and exemplification materials. The EYFS Profile LA moderation requirements booklet has been incorporated into section 6 of the 2014 Handbook.

Development Matters 2012

This non-statutory guidance was produced by Early Education in 2012 and is a resource to support you in implementing the statutory requirements – learning and development of the EYFS Framework 2012/14. It replaces Appendix 2 of the 2008 EYFS Practice Guidance.

This guidance shows how the four themes of the EYFS Framework and the principles that inform them work together to support babies and children. It illustrates how the Characteristics of Effective Early Learning may be supported and extended by adults as well as how they underpin the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development.

Use Development Matters as part of your daily observation, assessment and planning. It can also be used at points during the EYFS as a guide to making best-fit summative judgements, with parents and colleagues across agencies, about whether a child is showing typical development, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age. The age/stage bands are the same as they were previously. They overlap because these are not fixed age boundaries but suggest a typical range of development.

When you use Development Matters it is important to remember that babies and young children develop at their own rates and in their own ways. The development statements and their order are not necessary steps for every child and should not be used as checklists.

Additional support

Example evidence of children’s attainment

These materials are a selection of example evidence of children’s attainment, categorised into the 17 early learning goals (ELGs) which are part of the EYFS Profile. They establish the national standard for the level of learning and development expected at the end of EYFS for each ELG.
The exemplification materials help:

  • Practitioners to make accurate judgements for each child’s attainment
  • Moderators to assess the accuracy of practitioner judgements
  • Year 1 Teachers to use EYFS Profile outcomes to plan effective provision
  • Other stakeholders who wish to evaluate children’s learning and development.

EYFS Progress Check at age two

This non-statutory guidance has been produced by National Children’s Bureau and supports you in implementing the statutory progress check at age two as required in the EYFS Framework 2012/14.
This ‘know how guide‘ provides you with information to support you in carrying out the progress check and gives examples of how practitioners provide information to parents. Its aim is to stimulate ideas for how practitioners might approach the progress check.

The progress check has been introduced to enable earlier identification of development needs so that any additional support can be put into place as early as possible. The EYFS Framework does not require the progress check to be completed in a prescribed or standard format. It only specifies that information about a child’s development should be provided to parents in the prime areas of learning and development of the EYFS: personal, social and emotional development; physical development; and communication and language.

Further EYFS practice documents

Archive: EYFS documents