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SEND Early Years

How children are assessed during the EYFS

The ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’ (September 2014) sets out the learning and development requirements for all children aged birth to 5 years old. These are comprised of how practitioners should use observational assessment to plan for children’s individual needs and also the ‘Early Learning Goals’, statements against which all children are assessed in the final term of the reception year.

‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’ (September 2014) (

Before a child is assessed against the ‘Early Learning Goals’, practitioners and settings within the EYFS, make judgements about where children are compared to development that is typical for their age using developmentally appropriate statements within a non-statutory document called ‘Early Years Outcomes’. These are compromised of age bands and practitioners will use a best-fit judgement as to where children are developmentally. These assessments will then be used to plan next steps tailored to the individual child’s needs. The early learning goals are also assessed as a best fit measure against the statement. Descriptions can be found in section 1.12 of the ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage.’

‘Early Learning Goals’ (pdf)

Children are assessed in seven areas of learning, which are split into the 17 early learning goals. These early learning goals define what children should be expected to attain by the end of their reception year:

  • Communication and language (Listening and Attention; Understanding; Speaking)
  • Physical development (Moving and Handling; Health and self-care)
  • Personal, social and emotional development (Self-confidence and Self-awareness; Managing feelings and behaviour; Making relationships)
  • Literacy (Reading; Writing)
  • Mathematics (Numbers; Shape, space and measures)
  • Understanding the World (People and communities; The world; Technology)
  • Expressive arts and design (Using and exploring media and materials; Being Imaginative)

Section 2.2 of the ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage) states that parents and carers should be kept up to date with their child’s progress and development.

At the end of the EYFS and a child’s time in reception, practitioners will make an assessment against each of the early learning goals, this forms the child’s ‘Profile’.

Section 2.9 states that schools should share the outcomes of the profile with parents, whether their child is meeting the level expected, is not yet meeting the level expected or if the child is exceeding the levels expected at the end of the EYFS.