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Reforms set to boost early language outcomes and cut workload

Thursday July 2nd, 2020

Reception teachers will benefit from a cut in unnecessary paperwork giving them more time to support children’s early development, the Department for Education has confirmed in its response to a consultation proposing reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).Education Concept

More than 2,000 early years professionals responded to the consultation about revised early learning goals – key measures teachers use to check children’s development at the end of the Reception year – with a consistent view that they were clear and would contribute to a well-rounded assessment.

A focus on language and vocabulary development, as well as teaching numbers in maths, was welcomed – equipping children with important skills as they begin their school journey.

The Department for Education has also confirmed today, Wednesday 1 July, that disadvantaged and vulnerable pre-school aged children will receive additional support as they transition back into early education. Grants worth more than £1 million over six months will go to national early years voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations including National Children’s Bureau, Early Years Alliance and Pacey.

The VCS grants will be targeted at improving outcomes for children most at risk of falling behind by the age of five, and will increase the support for young children with special education needs.

The Department for Education has also confirmed the Hungry Little Minds website – an online tool for parents and carers that includes tips to support children aged 0 to five with their learning at home – will be zero-rated by the major mobile providers, meaning that parents won’t use up their mobile data allowance if they browse the site from their smartphone.

The reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage follow the Government’s commitment to improve the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) in response to the Primary Assessment consultation in September 2017.

Today’s consultation response confirms that local authorities will no longer be required to externally moderate the EYFS Profile within schools when the measures become statutory from September 2021, reducing the burden on teachers to gather extensive evidence of a pupil’s development and allowing them to spend more time interacting with pupils. It builds on pilot findings published last year, where teachers found changes largely positive, with feedback that it helped focus on stories, group work and discussion, inspiring pupils to be more imaginative and improving their language skills. The improvements also resulted in a reduction in paperwork which lead to a better focus on supporting their pupils’ education.

Reception classes have been invited to bring in the EYFS reforms a year early if appropriate, marking a further step in cutting teacher workload and boosting early language development.

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