Survey to inform the new Birth to Five Matters EYFS Guidance launched


Together with the other sector organisations in the Early Years Coalition, we urge practitioners to have their say about the new Birth to Five Matters Guidance.
Today sees the launch of an online survey by the Early Years Coalition (EYC), a group of sector representative bodies, to find out practitioners’ views and needs for guidance to support the revised EYFS. This is the first stage of a process to help shape a revision of the 2012 EYFS non-statutory guidance Development Matters in response to feedback that showed practitioners want to keep the best aspects of this highly valued guidance, while updating and improving it to reflect current challenges.
In September the Government published new non-statutory curriculum guidance, Development Matters (DfE, 2020). The Early Years Sector Coalition of 15 organisations representing the diverse early years sector jointly expressed their disappointment with this guidance, stating that although they shared government’s aspiration to prevent a tick-list approach which takes practitioners away from working directly with children they believe the new document will not achieve that. In their view, the new document presents a prescriptive, simplistic, limited curriculum and pedagogy, which does not reflect and respect practitioner expertise and excellent practice in the sector. They believe it fails to recognise all children as active and capable learners and does not provide for the breadth of challenges they will face in a complex and unknown future. As such, the coalition stated their shared belief that the document does not provide a sound foundation for providers to build a curriculum in the best interests of children.
In response they have launched a project: Birth to Five Matters. This is an opportunity to revise existing guidance to develop an evidence-informed document that addresses practitioners’ needs and concerns about doing what is best for children.
Over the next several months the Early Years Coalition is providing opportunities for comment on successive drafts of the new guidance, to be known as “Birth to Five Matters – early years guidance by the sector, for the sector”
Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive of Early Education said “We will be working with the sector to build on existing guidance and develop an evidence-informed document for our times, reflecting key concerns raised by the pandemic and longer-standing debates around how to create strong foundations for children from birth to 5. It will address practitioners’ needs and concerns about doing what is best for children. The process of developing the guidance will give practitioners opportunities for active involvement in producing guidance and resources that support practice, that reflect their pedagogic principles and that bring together research and practice knowledge.”
The EYC has appointed two members of staff to coordinate the project and ensure wide participation from across the sector, gathering input from a range of expert working groups and from public opportunities to respond to drafts as the guidance develops. Nancy Stewart, Project Lead, and Sharon Colilles, Project Assistant, will be advised and supported by the EYC Steering Group.
“We know from the EYC’s earlier survey of over 3000 practitioners that the current Development Matters is a much-valued resource. The goal is to maintain what is best and change only what updated evidence shows will improve the guidance,” said Nancy Stewart. “There will also be expanded guidance in central aspects of practice, with priorities likely to include children’s wellbeing and key skills and knowledge for every child growing up in the 21st century such as digital literacy, sustainability and citizenship. There will be a downloadable document that will minimise workload by looking familiar to practitioners, and we are also planning an interactive online version that will be backed up with additional resources to support practitioners as they want to go more deeply into an area of practice.”


As members of our CREC community we are asking you to do two things:

1) Please complete the consultation here: before it closes on 2nd November 2020
2) Please join us for a Learning Circle webinar on 11th November 4-5.30pm where we will discuss the consultation, and share with you for feedback some specific issues in order that we can formulate our own organisational response which truly represents our community. To book your free place (as a current student/tutor/Learning Circle member or Trustee) please complete the form here:
We also welcome CREC alumni and other members of our community to participate, all we ask is that they make a small contribution towards costs (£3) by booking a ticket here:
Thank you for your ongoing support and we hope you can join us for the webinar.
Warm wishes,
Prof Chris Pascal & Prof Tony Bertram, CREC Directors


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