The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.

In October 2019, the Department for Education (DfE) launched a public consultation seeking views on changes to the statutory framework for the EYFS. The consultation includes proposed changes to the educational programmes, the early learning goals and the EYFS profile assessment.

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.

The disapplications came into force on 24 April 2020 and will end on 25 September 2020. These disapplications have been reviewed on a monthly basis. Provisions were made in the regulations to allow for a transitional period of up to 2 months for disapplications around staffing levels to continue in recognition that some providers may need some time to get back to full staffing levels once the disapplications are lifted.

Further restrictions or requirements related to COVID-19 due to a local or national lockdown may affect a provider’s ability to comply with the EYFS. Therefore, government have laid new regulations which will come into force on 26 September 2020 and (with the exception of the EYFS Profile disapplication) will allow the disapplications to reapply where a provider is prevented from complying with the EYFS due to coronavirus related restrictions or requirements which have been imposed by government.

Read the guidance

Foundation Years hosted a video podcast with DfE to share the latest information and answer your questions on the disapplications when they came into force in April 2020.

Download the slides


Key documents
These documents should be used by schools participating in the EYFS reforms early adopter year from September 2020 to August 2021. Those who are not early adopters may find some elements of the updated documents useful in 2020/21 but they will still need to follow the existing EYFS framework.

EYFS reforms early adopter framework

This framework is for schools participating in the EYFS reforms early adopter year from September 2020 to August 2021.

EYFS reforms early adopter profile handbook

This handbook is for schools participating in the EYFS reforms early adopter year from September 2020 to August 2021.

Development Matters

This non-statutory curriculum guidance supports the delivery of the revised EYFS statutory framework. It offers a top-level view of how children develop and learn, and guides, but does not replace, professional judgement.

Consultation response

DfE’s response to the EYFS reforms consultation – published 1 July 2020.

Consultation response summary and table of changes

A summary of DfE’s consultation response and a comparison of the Educational Programmes and Early Learning Goals in the current EYFS framework to the final changes outlined in the consultation response.

EYFS reforms consultation

Consultation document

The consultation ran from 24 October 2019 to 31 January 2020.

Consultation summary

This document provides a summary of the consultation document.

Changes to the Areas of Learning and Early Learning Goals table

This document compares the Educational Programmes and Early Learning Goals in the current EYFS framework to the proposals in the EYFS reforms consultation.

EYFS pilot findings

Between 2018-19, revised pilot materials have been tested in a number of schools and evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation, in partnership with NatCen Social Research and Action for Children.

Foundation Years webinar

We were delighted to have Henna Jawaid, Team Leader: EYFS Reform Team at the Department for Education and Hannah Piggott, Senior Researcher at NatCen join us live to talk to the early years sector about the consultation and the pilot findings.

The session covered:

  • EYFS reforms context and update
  • Scope of the consultation
  • Overview of the proposed changes
  • Supporting the workforce and implementation
  • Pilot findings: understanding and using the revised ELGs

Download the slides