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Early Years Foundation Stage

Explaining The Early Learning Goals

At the end of Year R (known as the Foundation Stage) each child will be assessed against 17 key areas known as the Early Learning Goals (ELGs).  This is known as the Foundation Stage Profile (EYFS profile).  For each ELG, practitioners (teachers and teaching assistants) must judge whether the child is meeting the level of development expected ('expected') at the end of the Reception year, exceeding this level ('exceeding') or not yet reaching this level ('emerging').

The completed EYFS profile also includes a short commentary on each child's skills and abilities in relation to the three key characteristics of effective learning.  This will support future curriculum planning and will provide the Y1 teacher with important information about each child's approach to learning.  The Early Years Foundation Stage sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.  If your child has already been to pre-school or nursery they will have followed the EYFS profile.


There are assessments when a child is aged 2 and 3 years and at the end of the academic year when they turn 5.  These are NOT tests for the child - the assessments are based on EYFS practitioners' observation.  Information from these assessments is used for parents, practitioners and teachers to support children's learning and development.

Early years learning concentrates on 7 areas which are split between prime and specific areas of learning.  They are NOT used as checklists as each child develops at their own rate and in their own way, similarly children do not need to have achieved every part of the ELG to be deemed as at the expected level of development.  Teaching is often done through play, where the child learns about subjects and other people through games.

The Prime Areas of Learning are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal social and emotional development

The Specific Areas of Learning are:



Understanding the World

Expressive Arts & Design

For more information please see EYFS for parents on the Foundation Stage website.  It shows you have you can support your child during the Foundation year and what you can expect from the professionals working with your child.