Nearly half of all five-year-olds lag behind expected level of development

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The results for 2012/13 show that overall 52 per cent of children achieved a 'good level of development' at the end of reception.

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The latest Early Years Foundation stage profile (EYFSP) results show that 60 per cent of girls achieved a 'good level of development' at the end of the reception year, compared to 44 per cent of boys.

To achieve a 'good level of development' children must achieve at least the 'expected level' within the three prime areas of learning, communication and language, physical development, persional, social and emotional development, as well as the early learning goals within the literacy and mathematics areas of learning.

According to the results, the first under the new Profile and revised EYFS, a higher proportion of girls than boys also achieved 'at least the expected level' across each of the 17 learning goals.

The average score was 32.8 points, just short of the 34 points that are the equivalent of children achieving the expected level across all of the early learning goals.

Children from more affluent areas also performed better, with 58 per cent achieving a 'good level of development' compared to 45 per cent in the most deprived areas.

The new Profile was introduced last September following an independent review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) by Dame Clare Tickell.

Both the Profile and revised EYFS have a stronger emphasis on the three prime areas - communication and language, physical development, and personal, social and emotional development.

The new Profile uses a scale of ‘emerging’, ‘expected’ and ‘exceeding’ rather than the previous Profile’s 117-point scale. It also has fewer early learning goals.

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said, ‘These figures reaffirm the challenge that is faced to make sure that every child in the Early Years Foundation Stage gets the best possible start and makes the progress that they are entitled to make. 

‘As the figures show, nearly half of all children are not reaching a good standard of early learning goals. Of particular concern is that boys are doing less well than girls and children from poorer families and in more deprived areas are underachieving in comparison with those from more affluent areas. 

‘We know that quality provision is the key to improving children’s outcomes hence it is imperative that the most is made of the new two year old offer and the focus on early intervention to ensure all children leave the EYFS with at least the expected level of development.’

Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), said, ‘PACEY recognises that the Early Years Foundation Stage framework has had a positive impact on raising standards within the early years. As this is the first use of the revised EYFS, it gives us a starting point, rather than telling us a direction of travel. 

‘These figures paint a really positive story of how children are building social skills. However, there are areas of concern highlighted by these figures, particularly that only 52 per cent of children have achieved a good level of overall development, and there is an attainment gap between boys and girls. We need to do more to support childcare professionals, who are central in helping children to be both school-ready, and life-ready too. Low status, low pay and declining funding and support threatens the attempts by childminders, nannies and nursery workers to improve their professional status and their ability to deliver a high quality care. 

‘PACEY is supportive of Ofsted and the EYFS in its role to provide children the best quality standard of care for children, but we need greater efforts from Government to support childcare professionals, who play a vital role in this process.’

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