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Is your EYFS tracking ready for an Ofsted inspection?

7 min of reading
13 June 2024
A woman sat at a table with a child, the child is playing with interlocking squares and the woman has a notepad for writing observations

Tracking EYFS progress is part and parcel of being a nursery practitioner. You are hard-wired to spot and celebrate the tiny wins that add up to all of the ‘firsts’. You know how to track EYFS child development, but is your monitoring process in tip-top shape?  

We share how to use nursery software to save you time, improve EYFS outcomes and get you Ofsted-readyAll whilst maintaining framework individuality and flexibility within your nursery.  

A woman and a child at a table, the child is playing with interlocking squares and the woman is prepped with a notepad

How can nursery software help with early years tracking?

The aim is to spend as much time as possible with the children, without assessment and time-consuming tracking methods dragging you away from the important interactions that boost child development.

When the EYFS Framework changed in 2021, there was a large move away from ticking boxes and endless checklists (which were eating into valuable interaction time). The new Development Matters guidance (although non-statutory) includes checkpoints for the prime areas of learning in early years.

It’s important to be able to discuss children’s progress, as it’s what Ofsted will ask during inspections:

  • What were your children’s starting points?
  • What are they working towards?
  • What do you aim for them to achieve by the time they leave you?

There is no expected format early years settings should follow when assessing children’s progress. But the information that is gathered, should be useful. After all, there is no point in collecting data for data’s sake – you must know the why behind it.

Reduce the paperwork’ is the Government’s stance with EYFS tracking and Ofsted preparations. You should be striking a balance  collecting valuable information in a time-effective way that makes the sharing of information with parents easy versus the information that Ofsted might want to see during inspection so you can answer their questions.

Some settings may record their conversation notes, observations, reflections and assessments in secure folders or using an Excel spreadsheet. Alternatively, you can use nursery software to collect, analyse and monitor EYFS tracking and learning progress.

Two children playing on the floor with building blocks

Nursery software is a vital part of your toolkit if your aim is to:

  • Accurately assess pupils against your choice of EYFS Framework
  • Save practitioner time
  • Keep all data safe and secure (in line with GDPR requirements)
  • Share child progress easily with parents
  • Be Ofsted-ready
  • Easily create formative and progress reports (like the 2-year-old progress check)

Want to know how to track child development with Blossom, we have guides, videos and how-to’s for that!

How to make EYFS monitoring simple (and Ofsted-friendly)

Monitoring child development should be a straightforward and simple process. When done effectively, you should be able to quickly collect a great deal of data and then use this information to build a bigger, holistic picture of progression for the child.

There are lots of ways you can make your EYFS monitoring simple and effective, saving you time and also improving children’s outcomes.

Link to your chosen curriculum

Following the EYFS Framework is a statutory requirement for all English early years settings (including childminders). Ofsted doesn’t have a preferred EYFS curriculum. Whether you follow Development Matters 2021, Birth to 5 Matters 2021, or something different (like the old EYFS framework from 2012), your monitoring systems should complement your chosen framework.

At Blossom, we recognise you may like to dip into a few frameworks for guidance. You can, therefore, access a range of EYFS frameworks and choose your default guidance to save time when tracking learning progress against the statements.

  • Choose your default framework
  • Track progress linked to statements
  • Monitor linked to observation checkpoints
  • Access all age range guidance
  • Monitor across all seven areas of learning
A stick man juggling education, then teaching, and then teaching being applied to paper

Monitor child development through reporting

Ofsted inspectors aren’t interested in seeing graphs upon graphs of reports about children’s progress. They won’t sieve through the assessment information, looking for evidence of effective use of assessment. Your role is to know why and how you collect learning information and importantly, what you do with that information.

When you know the purpose behind the observation or assessment, how you collect this information becomes simple. For example, you may want to monitor individual progress in a particular area of learning, like Physical Development.

Having access to all observations recorded in that area help to build a picture of progress. Reports can easily be created to see the comparative progress when cohort tracking or for individual progress – striking the balance between progress towards expected milestones and valuing the varying rate in which all children develop.

  • Create purposeful EYFS outcome reports
  • Pull information through from observations
  • Link to the new EYFS framework
  • Share progress reports with parents
A series of 3 icons showing charts, investigating paper, and paper with charts on

Want to know how to get your nursery to outstanding? Download our free guide.

Evaluate children’s progress

You’ll want to assess children’s progress against the seven areas of learning and development and the associated Early Learning Goals. Although we know children develop and grow at different rates, it’s handy to judge how they are doing in comparison to typical developmental milestones.

Saying that, Einstein supposedly said, ‘If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it’s stupid.’ Children are best evaluated against their own progress. This is a realistic journey of individual progress and can help to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Having access to all information on a child in one place helps to build a bigger picture of progress. Safely storing all observations, notes and interactions via the Blossom App helps with consistency if a child’s key worker is absent or leaves the nursery.

Nursery practitioners simply click on a statement and record when the child is emerging, developing or exceeding (we kept this in for those of you who still use it as a judgment).

A series of icons showing a magnifying glass, an archery target and a clicking mouse pointer

Upload and write EYFS observations

Writing child observations in the early years can be super time-consuming. Ofsted has pushed to reduce time spent away from the children completing administrative tasks. This is why they won’t look through reems and reems of assessment data.

They want to know what the children could do before joining you, what they’re working on, and what you’re aiming for them to achieve with you.

EYFS observations shouldn’t be a drag. Dare we say it, but practitioners might enjoy writing observations when the process is made simple. Most nurseries have access to mobile devices (like tablets or iPads) during the day. Observations should be quick and simple to fill in. Avoid having to remember the details of the day and complete them after the children have gone home or in a rare pocket of time by using nursery software.

Even something as straightforward as an EYFS observation has many parts to it. First, you create it (checking photo permissions if adding any images or videos), send it to be approved, alter it based on any feedback, and share it with the parents (or convert it into a Golden Moment).

3 icons showing no photos allowed, a video upload and a paper aeroplane

Combining all of these steps to make a smooth observation and assessment process for your nursery can improve EYFS outcomes, fine-tune the accuracy of observations, boost parent relationships and save practitioner time. A win-win for all involved.

Blossom is all-in-one nursery management software designed by nursery owner, for nursery owners. Want to know more about how Blossom’s EYFS tracking and learning features work in practice? We have a demo for that!

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