Embedding the 2021 early years framework

Changes to the EYFS framework became statutory in September 2021. What do you need to do to embed these changes in your setting?

Author details

Sam Attwater is Director of Early Years for Aurora Academies Trust (AAT). Sam is passionate about the importance of giving children the best possible start to their education. In addition to her role at AAT, Sam has offered advice to the...

Every school or setting will have their own thoughts on implementing the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage, and alongside this there are many early years professionals who have written articles, blogs and so on, sharing their thoughts and ideas.

It’s important for provisions to have their own approach to these changes to suit their cohort and community. With that said, I wanted to share what I think are the key areas for consideration, to support you in planning for the year.

Professional development

Central to preparing is to identify the key changes and any CPD implications this will have within your staff team.

I believe the most important thing for everyone to do is to refresh themselves on child development. We are in a position to enhance the early years of children’s lives, and we know that having a clear understanding of what is typical for children at certain ages is the best way to start planning for their learning.

Do staff have an understanding of phrases such as self-regulation and executive function?

You will be in a better position to set more achievable goals for children and you will then quickly recognise any red flags to children’s learning. Expanding your knowledge of child development will give you more confidence when making decisions, speaking to parents and other colleagues and enhance your own practice.

There is a greater focus on communication and language, therefore any training that you can access on language development would be advisable. Do staff have an understanding of phrases such as self-regulation, which is now an early learning goal for personal, social and emotional development, and executive function, which is mentioned in the revised Development Matters guidance?

As previously, make sure you are up-to-date with any statutory training, including safeguarding training (ensure you have read KCSIE 2021) and paediatric first aid.

Reading and resources

Curriculum design

You will be embarking on designing your curriculum and this needs to be unique to your setting. Therefore, within your team, discuss:

  • what you want your children to learn
  • the activities you will provide and experiences you want them to have
  • why these are important.

Think about how you are going to implement this whilst ensuring that you are improving language development for all children (particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds), linking learning to the educational programmes, working towards the Early Learning Goals and as a result improving the outcomes for all children.

Are pupils backgrounds reflected in book corners and the wider provision?

Within your curriculum, look at how you will meet the needs of those with SEND, especially in terms of providing any additional support.

Remember to add any vocabulary, texts, rhymes etc. you are thinking of using throughout the year. It is also advisable to note how you will promote oral health.

Reading and resources

Documents and policies

Check and change any documents and policies in line with the statutory changes to the early years foundation stage and reference these accordingly.


Change any assessment format to correspond with the changes, remove the ‘exceeding’ judgement from any paperwork. See the following statutory assessments.

  • Progress check at age two: When a child is aged between two and three, practitioners must review their progress and provide parents/carers with a short written summary of their child’s development.
  • Reception baseline assessment (RBA): This is a short assessment, taken in the first six weeks in which a child starts Reception.
  • Early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP): In the final term of the year in which the child reaches age five, and no later than 30 June in that term, the EYFS profile must be completed for each child. The profile provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1.

Additional thoughts and considerations

  • Are pupils backgrounds reflected in book corners and the wider provision?
  • Is diversity celebrated through texts, toys and resources in the setting/classroom?
  • Do you support children to develop their skills on asking and answering questions?
  • Do you give children the time and encourage them to contribute in conversations?
  • Do you encourage children to talk in full sentences, modelling this at all times?

See the early childhood resource bank for a useful collection of free resources, covering child development, curriculum planning and health.

Last Updated: 
29 Sep 2021