Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) brings
together three sets of existing requirements and guidance: Birth
to Three Matters, the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage,
and the National Standards for Under 8s Daycare and Childminding.
It is underpinned by the Childcare Act 2006, and along with that
Act removes the legal distinction between learning and care in
the early years, and recognises that young children's development
should be through play.
At its heart the EYFS has a commitment to recognise
and meet the needs of all children. Practitioners can support
this in a way which reflects their professional judgement of children's
needs. Evidence shows that early education has a powerful and
sustained impact on children's learning throughout their primary
years education and that high quality integrated learning, development
and care enables children to achieve the best outcomes.
The EYFS sets consistent standards for children's
learning, development and care so parents can be sure that their
child will receive the right support to progress at a pace which
takes into account their individual needs, wherever they choose
to place them.
Parents are the most important people for children's
early learning. The EYFS recognises this and puts emphasis on
the importance of practitioners working closely with parentskeeping
them informed of children's progress, and taking account of the
learning and development of children when they are with their
The EYFS was created as a framework for practitioners,
to help increase quality and consistency across the early years
sector. It consists of a statutory framework, which all early
years providers are required to follow, and non-statutory guidance
which practitioners may use as a resource to support their practice.
The statutory part of the EYFS has two main
the welfare requirementsthese
carry forward existing national standards on issues such as child
safety and the suitability of people working in childcare settings;
the learning and development requirementsthese
set out a framework for young children's learning and development,
but without requiring any specific approach for day to day practice.
The whole of the EYFS is based around four key
A unique childevery child
is a competent learner from birth.
need loving and secure relationships to learn to be strong and
Enabling environmentsthe environment
plays a key role in supporting and extending children's development.
Learning and developmentchildren
develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
The learning and development requirements are
organised around six areas of learning and development, all of
which are equally important:
Personal, social and emotional development.
Communication, language and literacy.
Knowledge and understanding of the world.
Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
The requirements are in three areas:
are short paragraphs which illustrate the overarching skills within
each area of learning and development and set out the expectation
that practitioners will support children in putting these skills
into practise as they are acquired, and in a broad range of contexts.
Practitioners are required to support children in these areas,
but the approach and the pace at which they do so is up to them.
Early learning goalsdevelopmental
milestones describing the knowledge, skills and understanding
which most, though not all, young children should be able to achieve
by the end of the academic year in which they turn five. There
is no requirement for children to achieve these milestones, and
it is a matter of professional judgement how they should be supported
in the EYFS is through observation of day to day activitiesthere
is no testing. In the year in which children turn five, practitioners
are required to record their observations and provide these to
the local authority, who will use the information to help them
understand how children in their area are developing, and to plan
and target the support they offer to providers, schools and families.