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EYFS Statutory Framework: a practitioner’s guide

11 min of reading
05 October 2023
EYFS Statutory Framework a practitioner’s guide

The EYFS statutory framework has been updated. From September 2023, nursery practitioners will experience changes in ratio numbers, safer eating arrangements and changes to childminder ratios. Read on to find out all you need to know about the statutory framework EYFS.

In this article, you will find:

    What is the EYFS statutory framework 2023?

    The EYFS statutory framework is a document that all early years registered settings (including schools and childminders) must follow. The statutory framework for the early years sets out all of the experiences children should have from birth to 5 years old. Helping children get ready for the next stage of learning, the EYFS statutory framework ensures all children have an even learning experience whilst staying safe and supported.

    What are the statutory framework EYFS principles?

    Nurseries should use four guiding EYFS principles to shape their practice.

    1. Every child is unique

    Staff should celebrate that each child is always learning in every EYFS activity (including social interactions). Every child is capable, resilient, confident and self-assured. By having these high expectations for all children, nursery practitioners comply with the principles behind the SEND Code of Practice.

    2. Positive relationships

    help to build strong and independent children. Positive relationships stem from sharing interests and genuinely understanding the child. An online child profile documents all the likes and dislikes of the child for their nursery key worker.

    3. An enabling environment with adults who support children

    is vital. Relationships underpin several of the EYFS principles, and rightly so—relationships between parents and the nursery help to create consistency for the child. Balancing the right amount of child-led and adult-supported EYFS activities helps children to build their learning skills.

    4. Learning and development happen at different rates

    As mentioned in the characteristics of effective teaching and learning in early years, learning and development rates differ for each child. The EYFS principles strongly recognise the need to support all children with their education and care (including those with SEND).

    What are the sections of the EYFS statutory framework?

    Three main sections make up the EYFS statutory framework:

    The three sections of the EYFS statutory framework

    These sections are to be followed by all schools and early years registered settings (including childminders) and set out the required learning and development each child should receive.

    Learning and development for early years are split further into the seven areas of learning, early learning goals (ELG) and linked assessments.

    What are the areas of learning and development in the EYFS?

    The seven areas of learning and development EYFS are designed to give children a well-rounded learning programme. All seven areas are well-connected, making it easy for practitioners to target several learning skills throughout their EYFS curriculum. The seven areas of learning and development EYFS are split into prime and specific areas.

    Prime areas of learning for EYFS.

    The prime areas of learning centre around building curiosity and confidence to engage with learning activities and other children and form all-important relationships with adults and others.

    Specific areas of learning for EYFS.

    Not any less important than the prime areas of learning, the specific areas allow children to apply the prime areas of learning: communication and language, physical development and PSED EYFS skills.

    What are Early Learning Goals in early years?

    As the seven areas of learning and development structure the required EYFS coverage, the early learning goals (ELG) demonstrate the level of development the children should be expected to achieve by the end of the EYFS.

    The EYFS statutory framework is clear about using the ELG; they are not to be used as a curriculum or in any way that might limit the broad and balanced variety of learning activities. The ELG should be used to help nursery practitioners and teachers make an informed best-fit judgement about the child’s level of development and readiness for key stage 1. It can be beneficial to break down each area for learning and development and their adjacent ELGs.

    What is Development Matters in EYFS?

    Development Matters is a non-statutory guidance document that schools and EYFS settings can use to help direct how the framework is implemented. Settings don’t need to use this guidance, meaning Ofsted will not have a preference to see Development Matters used throughout the setting. Your nursery team can benefit from knowing what questions Ofsted will ask them about their EYFS curriculum.

    Assessments and the EYFS statutory framework.

    Assessments for the EYFS centre around nursery practitioners observing children’s competencies across several opportunities. When practitioners can understand the child’s individual needs, strengths and areas for development, they can plan activities and support accordingly.

    Parents should be regularly updated about their child’s progress; this can be through frequent sharing of EYFS golden milestones or levels of achievements or interaction with activities. Many nurseries use online nursery software to offer a window into the nursery day for the parents using a Parent App.

    Nursery assessments combine formative and summative assessments (everyday and milestone checks). There will be a progress check at age two for parents; this will identify any significant emerging concerns and celebrate strengths and achievements.

    The child will undertake a short assessment at the beginning of reception known as the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA). Statutory guidance is given to practitioners (Found here at to support all intakes throughout the year.

    In the final term of the EYFS, when the child turns five (before the 30th of June in that academic year), each child will have an EYFS assessment profile created. Nursery practitioners will give parents a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities. This EYFS profile is designed to share the child’s readiness for Year 1, helping them to begin key stage 1 with the support they may require.

    Safeguarding and welfare and the EYFS statutory framework.

    The statutory framework for EYFS prioritises safety; children learn best when they are safe, loved, secure and healthy. Safeguarding the children in your EYFS setting is everyone’s responsibility.

    Nursery managers and owners must comply with requirements to keep children safe. These include having EYFS policies and procedures in place, safeguarding the children, monitoring and assessing the suitability of adults working with the children, promoting good health always, managing behaviour effectively, maintaining robust record-keeping systems and regularly training staff on safeguarding issues and child protection processes.

    Inclusive practice and the EYFS statutory framework.

    Adapting the EYFS statutory framework to meet emerging SEND needs in EYFS is expected. All aspects of the framework should be adapted to meet the needs, interests and varying levels of development of each child. Nursery practitioners must be aware of red and amber flags for child development. For example, each child might have different physical development milestones in EYFS.

    Your setting will have short and long-term inclusive practice strategies to help boost language development for children with English as an Additional Language (EAL). Opportunities to play and develop language acquisition and skills should be a priority for these children.

    Inclusive practice can underpin your setting’s choices of EYFS activities. Ensuring that children can explore new textures through sensory play activities and messy play opportunities throughout the nursery day. It can be useful to share some of the easy EYFS activities the children enjoy with parents, helping to build the strong relationships needed for effective parent partnerships.

    When using the EYFS statutory framework to plan early years sessions, three characteristics of learning must be understood.

    What are the changes to the EYFS statutory framework in September 2023?

    An updated version of the EYFS statutory framework came into effect on the 4th of September, 2023. There are three main updates noticeable in the amended framework documentation.

    Want to keep within staff ratio easily? Why not check out our occupancy and staff planning features to make your EYFS setting as effective and profitable as possible?

    Who are Blossom Educational?

    Designed and managed by EYFS professionals, Blossom Educational helps to support the whole nursery community. From owners to practitioners, Blossom nursery software saves valuable time, improves efficiency and helps your childcare company maximise profits.

    Tracking a child’s progress against the EYFS statutory framework should minimise time spent away from the children. Out easy-to-use software helps practitioners record observations on the go, sharing golden milestones and contacting parents easily.

    To learn more about our many features and to book a no-string demo of the software, contact a member of our UK-based team today.

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