The UK Rules

Early Years Foundation Stage

The standards set out in the early years foundation stage is statutory guidance - issued by law. Thus, all early years providers must follow the EYFS curriculum and framework.

EYFS FRAMEWORK: The guidance sets minimum standards for schools, childminders, and childcare providers.

EYFS is not only for schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers to follow. Preschools, school reception classes, and nurseries must also use the set curriculum.

The EFYS 7 areas of learning relate to the development and care of newborn children up to the age of 5 years old.

Note: This section explains the early years foundation stage that applies in England. Early years standards differ in Scotland and in Wales.

EYFS 7 Areas of Learning

The early years foundation stage uses a combination of games and play time to teach the under 5s. The seven areas of learning for EYFS are:

Note: Up to two thousand early years staff will get extra funding through professional development programmes to teach early language and numeracy skills to two to four year-olds.

Early Years Foundation Stage Assessments

There will be an automatic review of child progress between the ages of 2 and 3. As a rule, either an early years practitioner or a health visitor will carry out the review.

Children will then get assessed by a class teacher at the end of the school year. This takes place when the child turns five years old.

The assessors base the EYFS assessment on classroom observation. That means they will not issue a 'test' for your child.

Note: You can read the early learning goals published in the early years framework and statutory guidance.

If Areas of Learning Conflict with Your Beliefs

You may feel that one or more areas of the EYFS conflict with your philosophical or religious beliefs. If so, you should discuss the issue with your child's early years provider. They will confirm whether you should ask for an 'exemption'.

Note: Getting an EYFS exemption means your child will not need to take part in a specific area of learning. EYFS exemptions last for 12 months.

Asking for EYFS Exemptions

You will need to write a letter to your early years provider to get an exemption. The letter must explain how your religious or philosophical beliefs cause a conflict:

Your child's early years provider makes the decision on whether an exemption gets granted. Even so, you must apply again after 12 months to keep the exclusion in force.

Related Information and Help Guides

Note: An early years catch-up programme offers language training and resources in communication skills to all state schools in England if they are offering a Reception class (e.g. through NELI).

Early Years Foundation Stage in the United Kingdom