Headteachers, leaders and managers need to step back from the detailed day-to-day focus on individual observation and assessment and undertake periodic, systematic reviews to see how well children are learning and developing across all areas of the EYFS.
To understand children’s progress, settings should consider a system for channelling the wealth of information gathered about individual children into a manageable summary. A cohort summary can be used to evaluate the percentage of children that are on track or are working towards being on track and to consider the progress made by identified groups, e.g. the difference in achievement between disadvantaged children and the non-disadvantaged children. The summary information can be organised into the seven areas of learning.
At each summative assessment point, consider the percentage, number or proportion of children who are accessing and progressing through the setting’s curriculum and meeting child development milestones and those who are not. For children or cohorts who are achieving beyond the expected level, consider opportunities for deeper and secure learning that includes application rather than learning more information.
Cohort progress can be described as the increase in percentage of children working at a typical level of development for their age and beyond across the year. This must also be considered for specific groups e.g. children who are eligible for a Pupil Premium grant (2YO funding, EYPP, PPG) gender, White British, ethnic minorities, EAL, SEND, more able and talented children, summer born children, service families, Looked After Children, children from Gypsy and Roma heritage etc. The cohort groups that you use in your monitoring depends on the community of families who attend your setting.
It is vital to be able to articulate the progress of the cohort at points during the year. Children who are making less than typical progress must be identified, particularly those in vulnerable groups, and provision must be reviewed to support these groups in order to close the gap in attainment.