What is Cohort Reporting?

Cohort reporting is the assessment tool that practitioners use in their setting to track the development of their children in accordance to all 7 characteristics of the EYFS framework. These assessments tools may be summative assessments or baseline assessments and may be completed every term or every 4 months.

These assessments tools will look at a child’s development by using the 7 characteristics of the EYFS framework and practitioners can decide whether a child is emerging, developing or secure for each different section which therefore can give a good indication of which stage of development they are at.

The importance of Cohort Reporting

Cohort reporting is especially useful if you are a large setting with lots of children as it allows you to see an overview of data for groups or cohorts within your setting such as : 

  •  Staff;
  •  The two year olds;
  •  Children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL);
  •  Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND);
  •  Children from minority ethnic groups;
  •  Children for whom you receive Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP);
  •  Summer born children
  •  Black and minority ethnic groups (BME)
  •  Boys vs. Girls
  •  By child group
  •  EAL / New Arrivals

This data can then be used to help practitioners with the following:

1. Identifying Trends 

This data can be used to analyse trends in your setting. For example, you may choose to look at the data for the girls in your setting and compare it to the data for boys in your setting. For example, you may then see that there is a higher number of girls at their expected development age for managing feelings and behaviour than boys. You may then show this data to all the staff so that they can plan activities accordingly in each of their rooms or you may ask them why they think this is. 

2. Identifying Gaps

You can also use the data to identify gaps with development within your setting. For example, if you choose to look at the data for each different child group you may discover that one group isn’t doing as well as others with their literacy. This may be an indication that the Teacher for that group is lacking teaching in literacy and this may need to be a focus. 

The information you find can then be used to help change a room layout, plan activities or help you decide if you need extra resources . Going back to the literacy example, the teacher may need to plan more activities activities based around reading or writing to help with the children’s development. 

3. Analysing staff performance

Cohort reporting can be used to help managers discuss a class’ progress with a practitioner. For example, a manager may choose to sit down with a practitioner and discuss with them how they think the children in their class are progressing and if they have any concerns about their development or if they think they are doing particularly well in one area. Managers can then look at the data to see if this reflects what the practitioner is saying.

4. Ofsted

Cohort reporting is also important as it links with Ofsted as the assessments used are an Ofsted requirement. Additionally when Ofsted inspectors come visit your setting  they will ask questions about the children who may be behind their expected development age in certain areas and therefore you can use cohort reporting to show how you are supporting the children in your setting with their development. For example you may show them the planned changes you will be making to your room or the activities you have planned for next week, overall it provides good evidence of your commitment to the children in your settings development.

What it should look like

Looking at what is important to include in the cohort reporting, firstly it will include all of the 7 areas of the EYFS framework and an assessment in each area for every child.

It may also be important to include a parent comment box. It is important to ensure parents are informed of what was found in a cohort report, as this ensures parents have the same expectations of their child’s development as the practitioners. However allowing a parent comment box gives parents the option to comment on aspects of their child’s behaviour that they may have observed at home. This means that practitioners can get a better overview of a child’s development and can look out for this in their setting.

Including observations in cohort reporting are a great way to ensure that accurate data is included. Ofsted state that practitioners and setting managers “must use quality assurance processes to ensure that the data accurately reflects the attainment of the current cohort of children” .  Therefore using recent observations is the best way to ensure the data is accurate and a current reflection of a child’s development.

Finally, you may choose to include next steps in cohort reporting. As mentioned cohort reporting can show weak areas in a child’s development and this may then influence areas of your planning. Therefore by having a next steps section, you can input what steps you plan to take to improve a child’s development in that area and it means their progress can be monitored easily as practitioners can focus on the next steps instead of having to assess all the data.

So for example if you wanted to compare boys compared to girls in your setting, the Cohort reporting may look like the following table:

At the top of the analysis are some of the EYFS characteristics ;  PSED (personal, social and emotional development), C and L (communication and language) and PD (physical development). Then underneath are the individual aspects for each characteristic.  For each cohort there is a number in each box for every aspect.

This indicates the number of children who are working at their expected learning age. So for example, with the cohort ‘boys’, ‘12/21’ would mean that 12 of 21 boys in your setting are working at their expected development stage for the aspect ‘making relationships’

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