Practitioners using the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) often find assessing children’s communication, language and literacy levels a cause of “tension and frustration”.
A study commissioned by the former Department for Children, Schools and Families and published under the current government, found that among practitioners, there was “criticism of the levels required” by the communication, language and literacy, problem solving, and reasoning and numeracy goals.
But the Practitioners’ Experience of EYFS concluded that the framework does receive high levels of support from all practitioner groups.
The study stated: “Practitioners from different groups in the sector report very different experiences of assessing children. The tensions and pressures that assessment can create, understandably intensify as children approach the end of the foundation stage.
“For many of those working with the youngest children, assessment is clearly a pleasure and an integral part of their daily experience; for some of those working with the oldest children, the engagement with external expectations and requirements is reported to be overwhelmingly demanding.”
While head teachers in primary school generally supported the benefits of the EYFS framework, the report found that some felt the level of assessment is “not yet right”.
Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of charity Action for Children, launched a consultation a month ago as part of her independent review of the EYFS.
She is examining whether there is a need for everyone to follow the same curriculum for under-fives and will also address ministerial concerns that the EYFS puts too many bureaucratic burdens on childcare providers.
Anand Shukla, business director at the childcare charity Daycare Trust, said: “The Department for Education research shows increasing numbers of providers support the EYFS.
“We acknowledge many providers find the EYFS profile a long and unwieldy assessment tool and the Tickell review provides an opportunity to improve early years assessment.
“We need much better feedback to parents too, and the single end of EYFS profile could be replaced with a short and accessible annual report to them.”
Have you seen the top tips for teaching children to talk video that we found? Watch it here. How do you assess the development of children’s skills in your setting? Do you think this issue needs to be addressed? Drop your comments below to join the debate!