Today, the Department for Education (DfE) have published the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework to be used from 1 September 2021 and a summary of amendments to the safety and welfare requirements in the EYFS.

Foundation Years will be publishing two new vodcasts to support with understanding of the revised EYFS later today.

New EYFS framework published

DfE have confirmed that the reforms to the EYFS will be rolled out nationally from September 2021.

The new EYFS statutory framework has been published and legislation laid in Parliament. This is the revised and final EYFS framework that all registered nurseries, childminders, schools and pre-schools in England will follow from 1 September 2021.

Early years settings, other than registered EYFS reforms early adopters (who must continue to follow the early adopter framework) must continue to follow the current EYFS framework until 1 September 2021, however the revised framework is being made available for all settings now to help them prepare for the changes.

There are also a number of small amendments to section 3 safety and welfare to make existing requirements clearer and to provide updates. A summary of these amendments and why they have been made can be found here.

Read the new EYFS framework

Read the summary of amendments to safety & welfare requirements

Key objectives of the reforms

The reforms to the EYFS have been a number of years in the making. The aim is to strengthen early years curriculum, assessment and practice to improve outcomes for all children and close the gap for disadvantaged children.

As outlined in the official response to the public consultation, published on 1 July 2020, the changes to the EYFS include:

  • A holistic curriculum that puts early language development at the heart;
  • A streamlined assessment process through a revised EYFS profile (EYFSP) and removing statutory local authority moderation, which aims to reduce unnecessary workload and cement the EYFSP as a tool that is designed to support children’s transition to year 1;
  • A new requirement to promote good oral health.

There are also a number of small amendments to section 3 safety and welfare to make existing requirements clearer and to provide updates. A summary of these amendments and why they have been made can be found here.

Government understands that this year has been a particularly difficult and challenging time for the early years sector, with children’s learning disrupted across all ages. The intended aims of the reforms – focusing on children’s outcomes and reducing unnecessary evidence gathering and paperwork so practitioners and teachers can spend more time interacting with children in their care – will provide a basis for supporting children’s learning and wellbeing through and beyond COVID-19.

Summary of Legislative Consultation Process

In line with consultation requirements set out in the Childcare Act 2006, on 18 February, DfE published the draft statutory instrument and draft new EYFS framework for comment until 18 March 2021.

DfE particularly sought views on a number of minor changes to the safeguarding and welfare section of the revised EYFS statutory framework. These changes were not included as part of the full public consultation launched in October 2019, as they constitute minor updates to clarify common questions on existing policy or to reflect updates in the law since the last revision of the EYFS was published in 2017. A number of responses were received and considered carefully before finalising the framework.

The new EYFS framework includes statutory guidance for the administration of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA), set out in Annex B. The RBA is a short assessment, taken in the first six weeks in which a child starts reception. The assessment will take place within the reception year and is, therefore, included within the overall EYFS statutory framework. While the statutory requirements for administering the RBA and undertaking the EYFSP are set out within the same framework, they are not related and they serve different purposes. The Standards and Testing Agency will provide further information about the RBA in the 2021/22 academic year in due course.

Support for implementation

Government understands that reforms to the EYFS, in particular on curriculum expectations and assessment requirements, will in many cases require behaviour change that will take time to implement and become effectively established. Therefore, to support the sector as they prepare to implement the reforms, DfE are providing a suite of supporting materials, including vodcasts for school leadership and practitioners and launching a new online support package for PVIs and childminders, as well as revising the EYFSP Handbook.

Support that is already available includes:

  • The Department’s new non statutory curriculum guidance Development Matters published on 3 September 2020 and revised in July 2021. This document provides a top-level view of how children develop and learn and guides but does not replace, professional judgement.
  • Foundation Years have published two new vodcasts bringing the latest information on the revised EYFS in one place. The first vodcast is aimed at headteachers, senior leadership and governors and the second vodcast is aimed at PVIs and childminders.
  • Foundation Years recently hosted free Learn – Explore – Debate events focused on the revised EYFS with sessions on reducing unnecessary workload and self-regulation in the early years. The recordings and case studies from the events can be found here.