Last reviewed 7 September 2020

Reception teachers returning to the classroom at ‘early adopter’ schools this week will, according to the Department for Education (DfE), benefit from improved curriculum and assessment as part of the reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.

The revised EYFS becomes statutory for all registered early years providers in September 2021.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb explained that some schools, who have chosen to be among the first to adopt the revised EYFS reforms, will begin delivering the new learning and development requirements to Reception classes, with a focus on improving outcomes in language, literacy and maths.

“We cannot afford for the youngest children to miss out at this vital time for their development, which is why we have introduced these reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage and why so many schools are keen to make these important changes from this term,” he said.

The DfE has published new guidance, “Development Matters”, which will support the more than 2800 early adopter schools as they deliver the new framework this year.

Available at, this has been written for all early years practitioners, for childminders and staff in nurseries, nursery schools, and nursery and reception classes in school.

It sets out the pathways of children’s development in broad ages and stages while recognising that the actual learning of young children is not so neat and orderly.

The main purpose of these pathways is therefore to help teachers assess each child’s level of development.

Welcoming the new guidance, Iram Siraj, Professor of Child Development and Education at University of Oxford, said: “Although there is a statutory framework for the seven domains of the EYFS, this Development Matters is a valuable and important starting point as non-statutory guidance. Importantly it states that ‘it guides, but does not replace, professional judgement’.”