Early learning goal changes have reduced workload

Teachers say that changes to early learning goals have reduced their workload, but more research is needed to establish whether children are better prepared for Key Stage 1 as a result.

The independent evaluation of a pilot of the reforms, published by the Education Endowment Foundation, finds that the government’s proposed changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) – ahead of a full public consultation – have created a more clear and specific set of goals to support teachers in their assessment of children’s development, and have reduced teachers’ workload, allowing them to spend more time with children.  The EYFSP is completed by teachers, based on their observations and professional judgement of children’s learning and development.

The EYFSP assesses each child’s development at the end of Reception across 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs), which sit under seven areas of learning, including: communication and language, personal, social and emotional development, physical development, literacy, maths, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.

The Education Endowment Foundation states that there are mixed views about whether children would be better prepared for Key Stage 1 as a result of the changes to the ELGs, and about whether they were more or less challenging than before.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said: “Identifying those children who have fallen behind before school starts is crucial for providing them with the support they need to catch up. However, it is difficult to know how to do this well and without increasing teacher workload. It is only through careful evaluation that we'll be able to identify the best ways of supporting children's development to give them the best start at school. So it is good we have been able to pilot the proposed changes to the ELG in a small number of schools. The findings will help make sure they are implemented well when they are rolled out.”

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