EYFS REVIEW: second consultation on early learning goals

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The early learning goals for literacy and mathematics in the EYFS have been amended, in light of the response from the early years sector to the revised framework.


The Department for Education has today launched a short month-long consultation on proposed changes to some parts of the learning and development requirements in the revised EYFS framework.

Alongside this consultation the department has also published a formal Government response to the revised EYFS.

The DfE has made what it calls ‘substantive changes’ to the goals relating to mathematics and literacy, in response to feedback from the sector.

The department received more than 2,300 responses to the revised draft of the EYFS framework.

The DfE said that while the results showed ‘broad support’ for the proposed new goals, those relating to mathematics and literacy received ‘the least positive responses’.

The Government’s response to the consultation said that 50 per cent of respondents were supportive of changes to the mathematics goals and just 43 per cent supported changes to literacy.

There have also been minor revisions to communication and language, understanding the world, and expressive arts and design.

The main changes to the literacy goals have been made in response to comments that some goals were ‘too stretching’:

  • this has been revised so that children will now be expected to be able to write simple sentences, rather than writing simple stories and captions. This has been changed on the advice of early years and national curriculum experts to reflect ‘a more appropriate level of stretch’;
  • the addition that children should be able to ‘read and write some common phonically irregular words’;
  • ‘removing the measure for children to demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them as this is not specifically related to reading’ – the document says that this is being removed because similar requirements already exist in goals relating to communication and language.

The mathematics goals have also been revised, in response to feedback that there should be more on ‘problem solving’ and application of number’:

  • children will be expected to be able to count up to 20, not ten as in the previous goal. Experts advised that this was more developmentally appropriate;
  • the numbers goal has been changed to include the application of number – using objects and quantities to introduce concepts like addition and subtraction. Doubling, halving and sharing have also been brought in;
  • ‘time’ and ‘money’ have been added to the shapes, spaces and measures goal, as terms that children should be able to describe in everyday language. Children will also be expected to be able to use mathematical language to describe everyday objects.


Prime areas of learning and development

Communication and language

Listening and attention: Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.



Reading: Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

Writing: Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.


Numbers: Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

Shape, space and measures: Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding the world

People and communities: Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

The world: Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Technology: Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive arts and design

Exploring and using media and materials: Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about users and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.

All other prime areas and early learning goals remain as published in the revised EYFS framework.

  • The further learning and development consultation will run from 20 December 2011 to 19 January 2012.

The results of the consultation and the department's response will be published on the DfE e-consultation website in April 2012.

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