EYFS 2021 – Meeting Requirements

Changes to the EYFS statutory guidance were published in March 2021 with the updated guidance becoming law from September 2021.

In this guide, we will go over the key principles and changes to the guidance, what it is asking of childcare providers and also link to resources that will help you to meet requirements in YOUR setting.

EYFS 2021

What is the EYFS?

The Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework are the standards that school and childcare providers in England must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to age 5. It’s purpose is to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept safe and healthy.

As a registered provider caring for babies and young children in England, you are obliged to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Changes to the Framework

Changes to the framework are being made with an aim to:

  • Improve outcomes for children, particularly the outcomes for disadvantaged children, and in the areas of language and literacy.
  • Reduce workload and unnecessary record keeping so as practitioners can spend more quality time with children.

Let’s work through each section of the guidance and focus on the changes:

EYFS Changes

Section 1 – The learning and development requirements

The main changes to the framework can be found in this section.

Areas of Learning

The seven areas of learning are known collectively as the ‘Educational Programmes’ or may also be referred to as the ‘early years curriculum.’  Whilst the headings for the seven areas of learning remain the same, their descriptions have been re-written in greater detail.

Instead of prescribing a particular teaching approach, the framework encourages practitioners to consider the individual needs, interests and development stage of each child in their care to plan challenging and enjoyable experiences that will support learning in all areas.

Help for early years providers and childminders has been provided along with the revised Development Matters non-statutory guidance, to assist providers in developing their curriculum and provide further direction and examples of how to support children. Providers may also wish to refer to the Birth to 5 Matters non-statutory guidance.

Find a summary of the changes within the Areas of Learning descriptions and ideas to support development in our EYFS 2021 – Planning YOUR Curriculum HOT TOPIC


Early Learning Goals

The Early Learning Goals have also been revised to make them clearer and more specific however the guidance states that they should not be used as a curriculum and that their purpose is to support teachers to make a best-fit judgement regarding children’s readiness for year 1. Pre-reception providers are not required to use the early learning goals.

Communication and Language – Progress will now be measured against two Early Learning Goals rather than three – Listening, Attention, and Understanding and Speaking.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development Revised to Self-Regulation, Managing Self and Building Relationships

Physical DevelopmentRevised to Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills

LiteracyDevelopment will now be measured against three ELGsComprehension, Word Reading and Writing

Mathematics Revised to Number and Numerical Patterns

Understanding the WorldChanged to Past and Present, People, Culture and Communities and The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design Revised to Creating with Materials and Being Imaginative and Expressive

Help for early years providers and childminders
Development Matters
Birth to 5 Matters
Early Learning Goals
Early Learning Goals

Section 2 – Assessment

The aim to reduce workload and unnecessary record keeping is supported in the assessment section of the revised framework.

Practitioners should use their knowledge of the child alongside their professional judgement when assessing whether a child is at the expected level of development. There is no requirement for physical evidence of ongoing assessment, however practitioners must keep parents and carers up to date with their child’s progress and address any learning and development needs in partnership with parents and/or carers, and any relevant professionals where required.

Whilst there is a clear and welcome shift away from paperwork and ‘tick lists’ providers will still need to be able to demonstrate that they know children well, understand where they are in their development in relation to the new EYFS framework and explain the methods used to support their progress. If keeping learning folders and tracking documents helps us to do this, communicate and share their learning with parents and also refresh our memories prior to inspection then keeping development records is not necessarily a bad thing.

Think about the development records you keep and ask yourself what is beneficial to you, families and most importantly the children? What methods of communication and sharing information with parents are working best and allow you to enhance experiences and what are you doing that you feel takes too much time away from providing hands on quality care? Perhaps shifting to a digital solution will allow for greater efficiency, more flexibility and better organisation?

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Whatever methods you use, make sure they work for YOU!


Statutory Assessment

The progress check at age two and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) taken at the end of the EYFS remain statutory. There is also a new Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) assessment that must take place at the start of the reception year.

Progress check at age two

The Progress check at age two must be completed by practitioners when a child is aged between two and three to provide parents and/or carers with a short written summary (Progress Check) of their child’s development in the PRIME areas of learning.

Reception Baseline Assessment

A reception baseline assessment (RBA) must be taken in the first six weeks in which a child starts reception and therefore will normally be carried out in school.

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP)

The EYFS Profile must be completed for each child in the final term of the year in which the child reaches age five, and no later than 30 June in that term. The purpose of the profile is to provide a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels, and their readiness for year 1.

EYFS Learning Log
New EYFS Outcomes for MK App
EYFS Progress Check
EYFS (Profile) Learning and Development Summary

Section 3 – The safeguarding and welfare

The safeguarding and welfare section of the new framework now includes a new requirement to promote good oral health. Vaping has also been added to the section on smoking.

Think about how you promote good oral hygiene awareness in your setting including the importance of tooth brushing and healthy eating habits. How do you support parents with promoting healthy lifestyles at home?

Think about how you ensure parents are aware of your no smoking and no vaping policy?

NOTE: Childminders are not required to have written policies and procedures. However, they must be able to explain their policies and procedures to parents, carers, and others (for example Ofsted inspectors or the childminder agency with which they are registered) and ensure any assistants follow them.

Dental Hygiene / Tooth brushing Consent

In Summary…

the NEW EYFS 2021 Framework requires us to:

⭐ Use the four overarching principles

When shaping our practice we must consider each child as a Unique Child whilst nuturing positive relationships in an enabling environment that promotes learning and development.


Review our Curriculum

We should rethink how we are teaching the seven areas of learning to ensure that careful consideration is given to the individual needs, interests and development stage of each child. This will enable us to plan challenging and enjoyable experiences to support learning in all areas and allow each child to reach their potential.


Monitor and share learning and development progress

We must regularly observe each child to understand how they are progressing and identify any areas where progress is less than expected. Contact with relevant professionals should be made to address any significant concerns.

Effective communication methods with parents and carers must be established to ensure they are kept informed of their child’s progress and share ideas of how learning can be further supported at home.


⭐ Plan next steps and Measure progress

To ensure what we are doing is working, we need to measure the effectiveness of our strategies and plan how we are going to support each child with their next steps. Remember:

Intent – What you want a child to learn

Implementation – How you are going to help the child achieve this

Impact – Evaluate learning and achievements so as you are ready to plan the next steps

Be prepared to demonstrate on inspection how well you know each child, their development in relation to the EYFS and how you are supporting their individual progress. Consider interests, characteristics of effective learning and teaching, supporting schemas etc.


⭐ Complete Statutory Assessments

All statutory assessments must be completed and submitted where required– e.g. 2 year progress check, reception baseline assessment and EYFS Profile. Some of these may be completed in school.


⭐ Abide by the Safeguarding and Welfare requirements

You must ensure that children’s individual needs are met in a healthy, safe and secure environment and that they are protected from harm.

Care Plans & Consents Pack
Individual Planning & Progress Summaries
Childcare Contact Diaries
EYFS Development Rainbows

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