Print pagePrint page

Revised Early Years Foundation Stage Framework

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework was revised in September 2012 to make it clearer and easier to use, with more focus on the things that matter most.

The revised framework sets out:

  • The legal welfare requirements of child protection that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep them safe and promote their welfare
  • The seven areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with each child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge
  • Assessments that are required to measure each child’s progress through the EYFS at age two and five

Child protection

All early years settings must be able to demonstrate to Ofsted how they meet the revised statutory framework.  The new framework states:

  • The safeguarding policy and procedures must include an explanation of the action to be taken in the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff and the timeframe in which they will respond
  • Settings must have an up to date written policy about the use of mobile phones and photographic images of children
  • Providers must put appropriate arrangements in place for the supervision of staff who have contact with children and families
  • Providers must ensure that staff have a sufficient understanding and use of English to ensure the wellbeing of children in their care
  • Children must usually be within sight and hearing of staff and always within sight or hearing
  • Providers must determine where it is helpful to make some written risk assessments in relation to specific issues, to inform staff practice and to demonstrate how they are managing risks if asked by parents and/or carers or inspectors
  • Providers must have a regard to the government’s statutory guidance ‘working together to safeguard children’ which can be found at

Seven areas of learning

The revised EYFS framework focuses not only on what children learn but how they learn.  There is also a greater emphasis on parents as partners by involving them as much as possible in their child’s learning and development.

Each child must be assigned a key person whose role is to ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs.  This should be achieved through the process of observation, assessment and planning. 

Children develop in the context of relationships and the environment around them.  This is unique to each family and reflects individual communities and cultures.  The unique child reaches out to relate to people and things through the characteristics of effective learning, which are playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.

The prime areas of learning are fundamental, work together and move through to support development in all other areas.  They are:

  • Personal, social and emotional development (making relationships, self confidence, self awareness, managing feelings and behaviour)
  • Communication and language (listening and attention, understanding and speaking)
  • Physical development (moving and handling, health and self care)

The specific areas of learning include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.  They are:

  • Literacy (reading and writing)
  • Mathematics (numbers, shapes, space and measure)
  • Understanding the world (people and communities, the world and technology)
  • Expressive art and design (exploring and using media and materials and being imaginative)


The progress check at age two is a written summary provided by the professional working with each child.  The aims of the check are to:

  • Review children’s development in the three prime areas of learning
  • Ensure that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development
  • Enable practitioners to understand children’s needs and plan activities to meet them in the setting
  • Enable parents to understand their child’s needs and, with support from practitioners, enhance development at home
  • Note areas where a child is progressing well and identify any areas where progress is less than expected
  • Describe actions the provider intends to take to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate)

At the end of the EYFS – in the summer term of the reception year in school – teachers complete the EYFS Profile. This assessment is led by the reception teacher and is based on observations and assessments completed during the reception year. The EYFSP covers all EYFS seven areas of learning and supports transition for the child to year one.

For support for the EYFS in your early years setting please contact the Early Years Team.


view our training programme and book online


View the current Early Years training & CPD courses