Are you a reflective setting that wants to improve your provision?

    Published: 11 July 2018

    The Early Years Quality Standards (EYQS) will support self-evaluation, reflective practice, action planning and high-quality provision to improve outcomes for all children. It will involve working with parents, children and staff to make changes and to develop practice. The process will be supported by mentors who are Early Years advisers in Herts for Learning (HfL). This is appropriate for those settings which currently have an Ofsted grading of good or above. This includes schools, pre-schools, day nurseries and out of school provision. The EYQS offers three levels of award, allowing settings to work towards the level and within a time frame that meets their current needs.

    The process takes approximately one year to complete, depending on the level of award chosen. Once accepted onto the scheme, each setting works towards completing the process within the next academic year, from September, and all settings finish and attend a celebration event at the end of following summer term.

    Bronze award 

    For all levels of award, this gateway to the EYQS will be mandatory.

    It involves the setting completing the Early Years Foundation Stage audits, focusing on how the setting meets the requirements of the learning & development, assessment, and safeguarding & welfare requirements.

    In September, the setting's self-evaluation, development plan or action plans are to be submitted.

    A gateway visit will be completed in the autumn term (around September or October), to review audits and discuss self-evaluation and action plans.

    A summary report will be completed to identify areas of strength and areas for development. This will enable the setting to update an ongoing action plan and identify next steps for development.

    Silver award

    Once the bronze award has been completed, the setting may proceed to the silver.

    An environment rating scale audit (ECERS) visit will be completed (around October or November), and a report written and shared with the setting. The mentors will be using the latest ECERS 3 audits.

    Our Early Years advisers are trained in the use of the full range of the environment rating scales. These are internationally recognised and standardised tools, used to assess the quality of Early Years provision. For further details of the environment rating scales, please visit the A+ Education and ECERS UK websites.

    A follow-up progress-review visit will be completed in the spring term to monitor progress, with actions identified in the ECERs audit visit. If progress can be demonstrated, the silver award will be achieved.

    Gold award

    Once the silver award has been completed, the setting may proceed to the gold.

    This involves a setting-led research and development project, which “makes a difference” to outcomes for children (especially the disadvantaged and vulnerable). Project surgeries will be offered in November to discuss project details, followed by an optional surgery in the spring term to discuss progress.

    A project-completion visit will be programmed for the summer term to evaluate the impact of the project on outcomes for children, and to also validate the evidence presented.

    Presentation and sharing of good practice

    In July, a celebration event will provide the opportunity for all settings to showcase the projects and changes they have made – and how this has improved quality and made a difference for children.


    The cost of the EYQS is related to the number of children attending the setting, size of the setting, and the level of quality mark the centre chooses to work towards.

    Registering Interest

    Please send an email to to register your interest in the HfL Early Years Quality Standards.

    If you have any further queries or require any further information, please email

    Contact details