Guide to: Upcoming policy changes 2019

A swathe of new big policy documents are hitting the early years sector from September, starting with the new inspection framework. Hannah Crown has a handy summary of what is happening and when

The Education Inspection Framework

What: A new version of the Ofsted inspection framework, plus updated schools and early years handbooks.

Key changes:

  • ‘Quality of education’ replaces the judgement ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’.
  • ‘Personal development’ and ‘behaviour and attitudes’ replace the single judgement ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’.
  • A new focus on discussing the curriculum, and less emphasis on data
  • Introduces the term ‘cultural capital’.

The early years handbook has:

a focus on ‘intent, implementation and impact’ under quality of education. Inspectors will grade all three of these as one by considering:

  • A fully embedded ethos.
  • A clear understanding of the educational approach.
  • Characteristics of Effective Learning and a well-embedded approach to teaching and learning.
  • Cultural capital.

The schools handbook, which will be used to inspect nursery schools, has:

  • a focus on ‘intent, implementation and impact’ under ‘quality of education’
  • references to learning as ‘alteration in long-term memory’
  • a focus on literacy, including phonics, and maths in Reception
  • retained the Characteristics of Effective Learning but lost the focus on the prime and specific areas of learning
  • several mentions of progression and sequencing.

When: In place from this September for early years settings, and a phased-in approach to September 2020 for schools.

Baseline assessment

What: A pilot will be carried out from September in 10,000 schools. It involves a tool created by the National Foundation for Educational Research to measure literacy and numeracy and will be delivered by a Reception teacher or other professional in the first six weeks of term. Children will be presented with practical tasks using physical resources, and the practitioner will complete an online scoring system for each child, using a laptop or tablet. The children will be expected to respond by pointing, talking or moving objects.

When: The final version is due to become mandatory for all schools in September 2020.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Overview: The Early Learning Goals are being revised, while the descriptive narrative that supports each goal in the current EYFS is replaced with a series of bullet points, each beginning with the statement ‘children at the expected level of development will…’ Though there are still 17 headings, according to the Early Years Alliance, ‘the revised EYFS may be considered to have 45 goals, presented in such a way that a teacher can answer whether a child has achieved each with a tick or cross’.

Early Learning Goals

What: Following the primary assessment consultation, which was aimed at those working in schools, new draft goals were published in June 2018. Key changes have been made in all of the prime and specific areas.

A pilot ran from September 2018 to July 2019 in 24 schools, with an evaluation from the (independent) Education Endowment Foundation due in autumn 2019. A public consultation on the new ELGs is planned from autumn 2019.

When: Voluntary implementation of the final ELGs is set to take place from September 2020, and become statutory from 2021.

The EYFS Profile

What: This statutory assessment takes place at the end of the EYFS and gives the child’s attainment in relation to the 17 ELGs and a short narrative describing the Characteristics of Effective Learning.

The DfE had considered reducing the number of goals, but this is being kept at 17. A proposal to introduce an additional band within the ‘emerging’ scale has not been enacted but the DfE has instead rewritten this section to give more specific examples of additional information which should be passed on to the Year 1 teacher. Other changes include replacing the ‘exceeding’ descriptors at the end of the document with a new section, ‘Completing the profile for children with an outcome at the “exceeding” level’.

When: Implementation of the new Profile under the revised EYFS will be in September 2021.

Development Matters

What: The guidance is being rewritten by a team led by Julian Grenier, head teacher at Sheringham Nursery School in Newham, east London. The DfE says it will cover what children should be guided to do under the seven areas of learning in the EYFS framework, and not against the Early Learning Goals, and be rooted in evidence-based practice. The DfE says this will improve early years outcomes, and reduce workload. Unlike the existing DM, it will not cover Reception, for which separate guidance is being developed.

Though there is no formal consultation process, the DfE wants to hear views on:

  • How can the age-stages development points be structured to discourage unnecessary tracking?
  • Would links to examples of effective practice be useful?
  • What would you like to see as an addition to the new guidance – which would be helpful to practitioners?

It is not clear if Development Matterswill be a formal part of this autumn’s consultation on the ELGs.

When: The guidance will be published alongside the revised early learning goals and Profile in early 2020.

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