Along with over 2,500 schools, our team at ScholarPack embraced the challenges of being an early adopter for the revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework in 2020-21. We trialled putting EYFS early adopter assessment into our updated assessment module for schools, making sure it was available to record the early progress that children made during their first term in school. So, what did we learn and what are we doing to help schools get to grips with the new framework ready for September?
It’s a chance to make changes
For me, the biggest challenge facing EYFS staff in implementing the revised framework is embodied by the statement that “assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork”. At ScholarPack, we wanted to make sure our systems were effective, but not a burden. During my time as an early years teacher, I became so used to capturing evidence of my formative assessment, typing up comments from scraps of paper and uploading photographs tagged to Development Matters statements, then using all this to set targets and document a child’s next steps, or to prove to a moderator that I knew my students. The revised Framework is giving us all an opportunity to challenge that practice and make changes, with many leading voices in Early Years encouraging practitioners to do just that. Adopting the revised framework wasn’t just about changing the wording of assessment statements, it was a chance for settings to start afresh with early years assessment, and that’s what we did too.
Assessment doesn’t have to be time-consuming
We know staff don’t choose to be EYFS practitioners to spend their days filling in spreadsheets and that the best source of evidence about your children’s progress is the knowledge you hold in your head about your interactions with them.
With that in mind, we put in place a system designed to be simple to complete, based on your professional judgements about whether a child is on track for their age based on what you see in your setting. This means no photos, no complex criteria, but based on your understanding of each child and of how children develop across the early years.
Customisable templates make set-up easier
After speaking to some of our early adopter users, we put together some common templates that should meet the needs of ScholarPack users, the most recent being a scheme for settings, choosing to use Birth to 5 Matters as the basis for their curriculum. Like all our assessment templates, the Early Years schemes are quick to set up, with several options available. But, if you find one of our templates isn’t quite what you need, each one can be personalised to your school to reflect the unique nature of your early years provision. So, if you are thinking about reducing the number of assessment checkpoints you use or changing the language used to describe pupil attainment and progress, you can adjust the configuration to match your plans and suit your setting.
What’s next in ScholarPack to support EYFS Assessment?
At the moment, we are in the process of adding the revised Early Learning Goals to our statutory assessments and reporting for those settings who have chosen to complete EYFS Profiles this term. Over the summer, we will be working on updating the formative assessment options within ScholarPack to align with the Development Matters observation checkpoints, so watch this space for updates on that!