Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2021 – what you need to know

The statutory framework for the EYFS effective from 1 September 2021 has now been published.

This framework is mandatory for all early years providers in England.  Find out more here.

Although there are some slight changes to the welfare requirements, the main changes to the framework are within sections one and two.

Section 1: The Learning and development requirements

The seven areas of learning and development remain unchanged, however, there are new educational programmes and revised early learning goals (ELGS) that sit under these.

The four guiding principles have been updated slightly and there is now more emphasis on practitioners reflecting on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately. The framework does not prescribe a particular teaching approach. 

Section 2: Assessment

One of the aims of the revised framework was to reduce paperwork and this has been strengthened within the assessment section.

When assessing whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, practitioners should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgment and should not be required to prove this through collection of physical evidence.

The progress check at age two and the assessment at the end of the EYFS remain unchanged, however, there is a new assessment that now has to take place at the start of the reception year – the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) and Annex B outlines these requirements.   

The RBA is a short assessment, taken in the first six weeks of when a child starts reception class at school.

Welfare Requirements

Promoting oral health has now been included under the health requirement and vaping has been added to the section on smoking. 

Support tools

To support the delivery of the EYFS there are pieces of non-statutory guidance that have been developed. These include Development Matters 2020 and Birth to Five Matters. 

NDNA was part of the coalition group for Birth to Five Matters, guidance that has been developed by the sector for the sector.

It is for practitioners to use alongside their professional judgement based on their knowledge of the children in their setting and their wider context including family, community and the setting itself to construct an appropriate curriculum. Further information can be found here.

NDNA support

  • The Revised EYFS Live Virtual Classroom (LVC) course is available for all practitioners. This short live course gives an overview of the key changes and explores the educational programmes. It also helps to consider what key changes you will need to make to ensure you are ready for implementation on the 1 September
  • We also have an online Introduction to the EYFS 2021 course that goes through every aspect of the framework
  • Coming soon – a series of EYFS LVC courses each unpicking an area of learning and development
  • NDNA has produced a comparison table outlining the key changes, this can be found here
  • All of the documents are available to download free or you can purchase printed copies here.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) on the EYFS 2021

When does the EYFS 2021 become mandatory? 
The statutory framework for the EYFS is effective from 1 September 2021.

What are the main changes? 
Within the learning and development section, there are new educational programmes and revised early learning goals (ELGs).

There is a greater emphasis on reducing workload, paperwork, and tick box approaches. Instead, when assessing whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, practitioners should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement. They should not be required to prove this through collection of physical evidence.

A new assessment that now has to take place as the start of the reception year – the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) and Annex B outline these requirements. 

Promoting oral health has now been included under the health requirement and vaping has been added to the section on smoking.

NDNA has produced a comparison table outlining the key changes, this can be found here.

Does the EYFS prescribe a particular teaching approach? 
No – practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development.  

What documents are there to support the implementation of the EYFS? 
Non-statutory guidance includes Development Matters (2020) and Birth to Five Matters (2021). 

NDNA was part of the coalition group for Birth to Five Matters, this is guidance that has been developed by the sector for the sector. It is for practitioners to use alongside their professional judgment based on their knowledge of the children in their setting and their wider context including family, community, and the setting itself to construct an appropriate curriculum.

What are my next steps? 
It is recommended that you read the EYFS and supporting documents, communicate changes to all staff, attend EYFS training, begin to update all EYFS templates currently used, speak to any online journal companies that you use about how these changes are going to be made and the impact this could have on systems currently used. Share information with parents. 

What training does NDNA have to support implementation? 

  • A range of online courses have been updated in accordance with EYFS 2021 across three age groups – Supporting birth to 2, 2 year olds and 3-5 year olds in the EYFS 2021. These are available at a cost of £15.99 per course, or as little as £5 in our bundles
  • Members can access the free online course, Introduction to the EYFS 2021 that goes through every aspect of the framework
  • Further resources to help practitioners prepare include factsheets and a comparison table.
  • Members can book on Live Virtual Classroom courses every month, including Revised EYFS 2021, this short live course gives an overview of the key changes and explores the educational programmes. It also helps to consider what key changes you will need to make to ensure you are ready for implementation on 1 September and a series of LVC courses focusing on each of the seven areas of learning
  • Open events on EYFS planned for September 2021
  • Bookings for in house training now being taken for September 2021 onwards.

Can I purchase a printed copy of the EYFS? 
All of the documents are available to download for free or you can purchase printed copies here.

Our EYFS pack 2021 comprises printed and professionally bound full colour copies of the new EYFS framework 2021, Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters, saving £4.40.

Will the format of the Ofsted inspection change?
From 1 September 2021 Ofsted will inspect early years settings in England on the new EYFS 2021 using the Early Years Inspection Handbook.

This was last updated in April 2021 to include additional considerations for inspectors when carrying out inspections of early years providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Further information can be found here.