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New early years coalition launches survey ahead of proposed EYFS changes

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Friday, 24 May, 2019

A new coalition of early years organisations has launched a survey to better understand the sector’s opinion of and attitude towards the EYFS ahead of a government consultation later this year.

The coalition, which includes Early Education, NDNA, PACEY and the Early Years Alliance, was founded in response to concerns early years experts were insufficiently involved in drafting revised Early Learning Goals (ELGs).

Representations have already been made to DfE to ensure that any future changes to the ELGs and the EYFS Statutory Framework have the full benefit of the most up to date research evidence and reflect best practice from across the sector.

The short survey which takes around 10 to 15 minutes to complete is designed for early years practitioners, leaders and managers. The survey provides respondents with an opportunity to share what they think about how the EYFS currently and asks them what they would like to see change.

Practitioners are invited to respond to our survey at by 21 June.

Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive of Early Education said:

“It’s entirely appropriate to revisit the EYFS and see whether it can be improved, based on evidence that has accumulated since the Tickell Review.  Tickell set a benchmark of good practice in consulting with the sector and reviewing the research to ensure that the EYFS was as well constructed as it could be at the time, and any future reviews should live up to that same standard. 
“We want to ensure that piecemeal changes such as the recently proposed changes to the ELGs don’t compromise the quality of the whole.  We’re pleased DfE are engaging with us, and we hope that some of the less well-informed changes to the ELGs will be unpicked before they go out to public consultation to ensure that all changes are improvements on what is currently in place.”

Michael Freeston, Director of Quality Improvement at the Early Years Alliance, said:

“This consultation could bring about the biggest changes to the EYFS since its introduction. The Early Learning Goals, currently being piloted were devised with little input from the sector. My concern is that policy is being devised from a perspective that does not put children first and seeks to extend formal learning down into the early years. This makes it all the more vital that, when it comes to this consultation we are not only listened to but are also around the table, shaping what any changes should look like.
“I would urge everyone working in the early years to complete this survey. The more of us who make our voice heard now the harder it will be to ignore us when the government sets out the terms of its consultation later this year.”

Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association said:

“Since the launch of the Early Years Foundation Stage we have seen the quality of early education increase. The EYFS was built on a firm foundation of strong research based evidence, with a number of sector leaders involved in its development and embraced by the sector. 
“The proposed changes could have a negative impact on the quality of early years education, especially for our younger children.  We appreciate that a cycle of review is necessary to ensure that the EYFS is the best it can be, however this cannot be achieved without a thorough review of evidence based best practice and in collaboration with the early years workforce.”   

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, said:

“Any review of the ELGs and EYFS must be underpinned by robust evidence of the factors influencing quality early years practice. There is a strong consensus within the sector that the proposals currently being piloted in 24 primary schools are likely to encourage a top-down, tick-box, one size fits all approach that will not be suitable for many children, especially those with SEND, English as an additional language (EAL) or the summer-born. Initial proposals for changes to the EYFS Profile are not always supported by evidence of child development, and must recognise the EYFS curriculum is for children 0-5 . Through piloting and consultation the new revised EYFS must end up stlil recognising that every child is unique and make sure our very young children don’t experience too formal a curriculum too early.
“Everyone working in early years has expertise on what works and what needs to change in the current EYFS and the ELGs and we would urge you all to take time to share your expertise so we continue to ensure the EYFS is seen as a world-class curriculum for early education.”

Notes to editors: 

The coalition members include Early Education, the Early Years Alliance, Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN), Early Childhood Forum (ECF), Keeping Early Years Unique (KEYU), the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), Sector Endorsed Foundation Degrees in the Early Years (SEFDEY) and TACTYC: the Association for Professional Development in Early Years.  Meetings also include observers from unions including the NAHT, ASCL, NEU, NASUWT and the coalition also has support from specialist groups including the Early Childhood Mathematics Group (ECMG) and Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children (MERYC)

For further information contact any of the following:

Beatrice Merrick, Early Education, 07712 398672

Deri Jones, Early Years Alliance,, 0207 697 2598

Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education) is the leading independent national charity for early years practitioners and parents, campaigning for the right of all children to education of the highest quality. Founded in 1923, it has members in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and provides a national voice on matters that relate to effective early childhood education and care of young children from birth to eight. The organisation supports the professional development of practitioners through publications, training, conferences, seminars and access to a national and regional branch network. For more information on the work of Early Education visit