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Date: September 19, 2023

Reflections on Ofsted’s, Best start in life: a research review for early years – Part 2

Early this month, Ofsted published the second in series of Early Years Reviews. As expected, this new instalment focuses on the Prime Areas, and builds on the previous reviews’ comments relating to pedagogy and curriculum.

So, is there anything new? The core messages, highlighted below, echo much of the recent conversation surrounding the EYFS Statutory Framework, wider supporting documents, Ofsted’s Inspection Framework, and early years research. Particularly the discourse following the COVID pandemic and the possible long-term impact on the learning and development of many young children. All this amidst the ongoing financial and capacity challenges the sector continues to face.

Core Messages (Ofsted September 8th 2023):

  • The 3 prime areas of the EYFS are crucial to children’s early learning and their later success in education and life.
  • The prime areas are interlinked and provide the foundations for wider learning across the curriculum 
  • Communication and language are fundamental to every aspect of young children’s thinking and learning. 
  • Personal, social, and emotional development underpins children’s early learning and emotional well-being and helps children learn and form positive relationships when they start school.
  • Physical development is central to children’s health and fitness and provides the foundations for later participation in and enjoyment of physical activity and sport. 
  • Frequent, high-quality interactions between children and practitioners play a fundamental role in building the knowledge and skills that children will need.

The review goes into a degree of detail surrounding each of these points, drawing on a range of research from the UK and overseas. Most of which is from the last fifteen years and some post-pandemic. The relationship between interactions and curriculum is highlighted once again, with an emphasis on need for adults not only to have a clear understanding of child development, but also of the curriculum, drawing on this knowledge to help shape their interactions.

You can read the report in full in here: Best Start in Life: A Research Review for Early Years 

Part 3 of the research series will focus on the four specific areas of learning – literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. This is expected to be published in December.

We will also be exploring the review findings and messages in greater depth this term as part of our online and face to face training events, for leaders and wider teams, including at our National Briefing, during the Roadshows and at our popular EYFS Leaders Programme

We also have a range of tools and resources which may help you and your team reflect on current practice relating to the Prime Areas of Learning, found below.

Find out more

Our CPD Audit Tool is your essential resource for ensuring that your team is well-equipped to provide exceptional learning experiences for children. Join the EEx Community today and access your free download.

Download Audit

Join our ‘Connecting the Curriculum‘ course to craft a learning journey that seamlessly connects EYFS to KS1 and beyond. Discover how to nurture essential knowledge, skills, understanding, and learning behaviors.

Book Course

Tune in to our Prime Time podcast episode where we delve into the significance of prioritising prime areas of learning in your timetable and join the conversation towards giving children more valuable time.

Listen Here

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