Early years foundation stage (EYFS)

The early years foundation stage is the stage a child is in when they attend a setting, school or childminder between birth and the age of 5

Standards for early years providers

The early years foundation stage sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for future progress through school and life.

The early years foundation stage seeks to provide:

  • quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind
  • a secure foundation of opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed regularly and reviewed
  • partnership working between practitioners and with parents/carers
  • equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported
  • learning and development  requirements covering the areas of learning, the early learning goals and the assessment arrangements at the end of reception year in school
  • safeguarding and welfare requirements that cover the steps providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare

Four principles of EYFS

The early years foundation stage is based on four important principles that should shape practice in early years settings in Barking and Dagenham.

A unique child

Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured.

Positive relationships

Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

Enabling environments

Children learn well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents/carers.

Learning and development

Children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years settings, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Within this theme are seven areas of learning and these must shape the educational programme in early years settings. All areas are interconnected but there are three areas that are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, for building children’s capacity for learning and to help them form relationships and thrive.

Early years learning in EYFS

Within the learning and development principle of early years foundation stage, there are seven areas of learning, which shape the educational programme in early years settings. These 7 areas are split between prime and specific areas of learning.

The 3 prime areas are:

  • communication and language development - giving children opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
  • physical development - providing opportunities for young children to be active and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy food choices.
  • personal, social and emotional development - helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

The 4 specific areas are:

  • literacy development – encouraging children to read and write, both through listening to others reading and beginning to read and write themselves. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials – books, poems, and other written materials, to ignite their interest.
  • mathematics – providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting, calculating simple additions and subtractions, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • understanding the world – guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • expressive arts and design involves supporting children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology

Early Years and Childcare Team

Research shows that high quality childcare during the early years has a lasting impact on children’s learning and development. In the first 3 years children develop at a faster rate than at any other time in their lives. Children who experience high quality childcare are well placed to achieve higher outcomes at school and develop the skills necessary for life-long learning.

Hence our early years and childcare team works closely with childminders, pre-schools and nurseries to give the best possible start to all children. Each nursery and pre-school is supported by an advisory teacher with the added support of a foundation stage teacher. The role of the teacher is to assist with the delivery of quality education within the setting.

All our early years settings are inclusive and admit children with a range of additional and complex needs. Each setting employs a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) and all staff receive training in working with children with additional needs. Childcare settings are also able to apply to the early years service for additional funding to support children with more complex needs.

Cancelling early education funding and provider appeals

There are two occasions when we have to remove providers from the early education funding programme:

  • a provider receives an inadequate outcome from their Ofsted inspection
  • the provider fails to comply with their funding agreement

Once an inadequate Ofsted inspection outcome is published funding for any two year old children will stop immediately.  We will notify all parents and help find alternative provision for these children.

For 3 and 4 year olds the funding will remain in place until the end of the term when the inspection took place. We will notify all parents and help find alternative provision for these children as soon as practicable.

If parents wish their child to remain in a setting, parents will have to pay for the place. The setting will not be able to claim for these children. While the setting remains inadequate we will not refer any children to it. The setting will not be able to claim for any new children during this period.

The setting’s link advisory teacher will work closely with it to help it improve its practice and help prepare it for re -inspection.

If there is fraud or serious child protection issues all funding for all children will be withdrawn immediately.

We will write to all affected parents at the setting to advise them they need to find their child a new place if they want to continue to receive their free early education funded place.

The setting will no longer be advertised as providing early education funding.


The provider has the right of appeal against this decision. Contact the Family Information Service for further information on the appeals process.

The provider has 7 days to appeal from the issue of the notice to cancel. This has to be in writing with evidence showing requirements of the notice to improve have been met.

Appeals should be sent to:


Commissioning Divisional Director, Education, Roycraft House, 2 Town Hall, Barking IG11 7LU

If the provider is not satisfied with the outcome they can follow the council’s complaints procedure.