Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the framework set for learning and development for children from birth to the age of 5. It includes 7 different areas of learning which are broken up into different characteristics. With this framework, a child’s’ progress is reviewed between the ages of 2-3 and then again at the end of their first school year when they are 5 years old. 

It is a legal requirement that all schools and Ofsted registered early years providers follow the EYFS framework. 


This applies to schools and all early years providers in England.

39,000 Childminders Ofsted Registered in England as of 31st March 2019.

27,300 Childcare on non-domestic premises as of 31st March 2019; this includes nurseries, and pre-schools.

In Scotland, the Early Years Framework defines early years from pre-birth to 8 years old with 96,549 registrations across the 2,544 Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) centres in 2018​.



Montessori education is based on self-directed activities and encourages children to learn at their own pace. Children will work in small groups or on their own to complete specially designed activities and materials to learn about aspects such as language, math, music, the world and more. It is believed that through using their natural instincts, children will repeat these activities and therefore an improvement on coordination, concentration and development will be seen.

Montessori Education (UK) is the national standards body for Montessori education in Britain.

This number is expected to grow as more parents are being drawn to the Montessori system. 


Every Child A Talker (ECAT)

Every child a talker (ECAT) is a framework that has been “designed to help practitioners and parents create a developmentally appropriate, supportive and stimulating environment in which children can enjoy experimenting with and learning language”

  • Using fun and interesting activities based on the children’s interests, ECAT aims to encourage early language development so that by the time children move on to starting school, they are able to communicate confidently to a high standard.


Northern Ireland Foundation Stage

Preschool – All pre school settings, voluntary & Statutory as well as private settings are required to follow theCurricular Guidance for Pre-School Education’.

Staff should use it to plan, review and develop the best practice across the 6 areas of learning.

As of 2018 ; There are 23,500 pupils in funded pre-school education in Northern Ireland.

Foundation Stage is a statutory requirement Primary school year 1-2 and children aged 4-6.

Welsh Foundation Phase Framework

The Welsh Foundation Phase is the Welsh statutory curriculum for children aged 3-7. The curriculum “promotes equality of opportunity and values, and celebrates diversity” 

The framework is broken down into 7 key areas:

  1. Personal and Social Development, Well-being and Cultural Diversity
  2. Language, Literacy and Communication Skills (revised to include the literacy component of the LNF)
  3. Mathematical Development (revised to include the numeracy component of the LNF)
  4. Welsh Language Development
  5. Knowledge and Understanding of the World
  6. Physical Development
  7. Creative Development

Ireland: Aistear

Aistear is the current curriculum for children from birth to age 6. However it is not supported by legislation, so it is not statutory. Over the year  2017/18, 118,899 children benefited from Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Ireland.

Based on 12 principles split into 3 groups :

  • The 1st group concerns children and their lives in early childhood:
    • The child’s uniqueness
    • Equality and diversity
    • Children as citizens.
  • The second group concerns children’s connections with others:
    • Relationships
    • Parents, family and community
    • The adult’s role.
  • The third group concerns how children learn and develop:
    • Holistic learning and development
    • Active learning
    • Play and hands-on experiences
    • Relevant and meaningful experiences
    • Communication and language
    • The learning environment.

Scotland - The Early Years Framework

This framework defines ‘early years’ as birth to the age of 8. 

‘Building the ambition (2014) is a national practice guidance for all those delivering early learning and childcare to babies, toddlers and young children”

  • A statutory guidance.
  • The guidance explains the necessary interactions to deliver the right learning journey for babies, toddlers and young children. 
  • There is a focus on guidelines that encourage wellbeing, communication, curiosity, inquiry, and creativity to flourish. 

As of 31st December 2017 – there were 9,127 registered early learning and childcare services in Scotland (3,701 daycare of children’s services and 5,426 childminding services)

Key Stage 1 (KS1)

Number of primary schools in the UK : 20,925

Statutory national curriculum in the UK for children 5-7 and is split into the following subjects:

  • English 
  • Maths 
  • Science
  • Design and technology
  • History 
  • Geography 
  • Art and Design 
  • Music
  • Physical Education (PE), including swimming
  • Computing
  • Religious Education (RE) , parents can ask for their children to be taken out of this.

Often also taught (voluntary) in KS1:

  • Personal, social and health education (PSHE)
  • Citizenship 
  • Modern Foreign languages 

During KS1 the following Tests and Assessments take place:

  • Year 1 phonics screening check. Takes place in June. If the child does not do well they will have to do it again in year 2.

Key Stage 1 tests cover :

  • English reading 
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Maths

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