EYFS alternative guidance must feature Play and the Characteristics of Effective Learning

Friday, November 13, 2020

Practitioners say they want play and the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) to feature strongly in revised guidance for the EYFS.

The alternative guidance is a work in progress.
The alternative guidance is a work in progress.

A survey launched by the Early Years Coalition, which aims to establish what practitioners want from non-statutory guidance for the reformed Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), has received more than 1,600 replies.

This follows widespread criticism of the revised Development Matters document published by the Department of Education in September.

The Early Years Coalition, which is a group of 15 sector organisations, says it is pleased with the level of response, which represented experienced practitioners across private and public settings.

Ninety two per cent of respondents want to see play included in the alternative guidance, entitled Birth to 5 Matters – early years guidance by the sector, for the sector. Eighty nine per cent flagged the importance of featuring the CoEL.

Support for the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development is strong while 79 per cent identified possible developmental delay.

Practitioners continue to support the established EYFS Themes and Principles with 73 per cent of respondents believing that the guidance should be structured around these. The Commitments cards that accompanied the 2008 EYFS were deemed to be helpful.     

Agreement on whether the current age and stage bands should be retained was less clear. While 45 per cent said that they should, 40 per cent disagreed and 15 per cent did not know. Of those who answered ‘no’ 62 per cent suggested that there should be bands but with no ages.

Eighteen working groups are now looking in detail at the specific areas within the overall outline with the aim of a first draft of the guidance being published online in a month’s time along with another survey.

Project lead Stewart emphasises that it will be a ‘work in progress’ with some gaps but that the EYC is keen to gain feedback and ensure that they are ‘on the right track’. 

A second draft of the guidance and further consultation is planned for mid-February with the aim of launching the completed Birth to 5 Matters guidance document at the end of March 2021. There will be a website with an interactive version along with further resources and evidence basis.



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