Assessment is at the heart of effective early years practice. It plays a vital role in ensuring parents, carers and practitioners recognise children’s levels of development and progress over time. Through ongoing assessment, practitioners will grow to understand children’s levels of achievement, interests and learning styles. They will then be able to plan relevant and appropriate learning experiences for each child.
Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interactions with children, nor require excessive paperwork. When assessing whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, practitioners should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement and should not be required to prove this through collection of physical evidence. When a child’s learning is embedded and secure, they are likely to demonstrate what they know and can do consistently, independently and in a range of situations.
Barriers to learning
For those children who are not progressing or accessing your curriculum, you may have to observe more to identify barriers to learning and then decide how to address them. Persistent learning and development needs should be addressed between parents/carers and any other relevant professionals. Parents and carers must be kept up to date with their child’s progress.
The Early Years Service provided briefings in the summer of 2021 covering the main changes across all three sections of the revised EYFS.
Assessing children with SEND
Many SENCOs might find it challenging within the new framework to pinpoint where children with SEND are and to track their progress. We encourage all settings to use a range of resources to help them accurately identify where a child is in their development. While not a statutory requirement, SENCO’s may feel that for children with SEND, the bands remain a helpful measure of progress and while not required for all children, you might want to continue to use a range of resources which reference age bands, to support you in your role. If settings feel that using a band system is beneficial, they are welcome to continue to use it. If they feel an alternative method of recording progress is better for their setting, the new framework allows flexibility.
Suggested reading about changes to assessment under the Revised EYFS (2021)
The following articles were written by Julian Grenier, who wrote Development Matters (2021) and was part of the advisory group for the EYFS reforms. The articles may be useful for settings who are reflecting on their assessment practices.