Early Years Foundation Stage

All early years providers in England must follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework

The EYFS framework:

  • sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well
  • ensures children are kept healthy and safe
  • ensures that children have the knowledge and skills they need to start school

This statutory framework is for:

  • school leaders
  • school staff
  • childcare providers
  • childminders
  • out-of-school providers

It relates to:

  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • non-maintained schools (schools not maintained by a local authority)
  • independent schools
  • academies and free schools
  • nurseries
  • private nursery schools
  • pre-schools/playgroups
  • childminding

Statutory guidance is issued by law. You must follow it unless there is a good reason not to do so.     


September 2023 changes

From 4 July 2022 to 16 September 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) consulted on the following proposed amendments to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework and then laid a Statutory Instrument (SI) in Parliament to amend the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework (EYFS) with changes that will come into force from 4 September 2023. These are

  • a change to the current statutory minimum staff:child ratios in England for 2-year-olds from 1:4 to 1:5; (For group settings – no change to childminder ratios) (3.33)
  • clarifying that childminders can care for more than the currently specified maximum of three young children, when caring for siblings of children they already care for, or when caring for their own child; (3.43)
  • clarifying that “adequate supervision” while children are eating means that children must be within sight and hearing of an adult (rather than “sight or hearing”) (3.29)

The ratio changes offer flexibilities to settings, it is important for all providers to ensure any changes they make to staff:child ratios continue to ensure the safety of and meet the needs of all the children in their care.  

The clarification that 'adequate supervision' while children are eating means that children must be within sight and hearing of an adult. Choking can happen very quickly, and a child who is choking can be silent, therefore visual supervision is essential. Practitioners can find out more about choking prevention and Food safety - Help for early years providers - GOV.UK (education.gov.uk)

Supporting resources

Development Matters - Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage.   

Help for early years providers - Get help to improve your practice. Access resources and advice to help improve practice in the early years.          

SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 yearsStatutory guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25

A Celebratory Approach to Working with Children with SEND -A guide designed to help practitioners who may be supporting children that require additional help or children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Guides parents through what to expect in their child’s development. It aligns with Development Matters to help practitioners engage with parents about their child’s development.

Training from PACEY

Delivering the EYFS online training course

Bright, interactive and colourful, PACEY’s course will bring you right up to date with the requirements of the current Framework, but will also provide you with some suggestions, hints, and tips you can use in your setting to further support the children in your care and their families.

The course is in two parts and after completing a short knowledge check, you’ll be able to download and print your own personalised certificate.

These are the learning outcomes:

  • Explore the safeguarding and welfare requirements
  • Explore the characteristics of effective learning and how they support children’s development
  • Demonstrate how activities support the prime and specific areas of learning
  • Define the assessment requirements
  • Demonstrate the importance of reflective practice

PACEY members get more


You should have clear policies and procedures in place in accordance with the requirements of the EYFS. PACEY members can use our sample polices templates, available for:

The member exclusive Resource hub is packed full of practice guides, factsheets, webinars and more all developed to support members to deliver the EYFS.

Our online learning, CEY smart offers members access to digital CPD covering different topics that support you to power your practice.

We have a range of other courses covering different topics that support you to power your practice delivering the EYFS:

  • An introduction to mathematical development in the early years
  • Strategies to support and promote mathematical development 
  • Understanding and recognising speech language and communication needs in the early years 
  • Supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 
  • Parental conflict; knowing how to support and when to intervene
  • and many many more!

Developed especially for PACEY members in association with Dr Julian Grenier (lead practitioner in the creation of Development Matters 2020 non-statutory guidance), is our mini-series of bite-sized courses Explore the ‘Seven key features of effective practice’ as featured in Development Matters with CEY smart courses:

  • The best for every child
  • High quality care
  • The curriculum – what we want children to learn 
  • Pedagogy – helping children to learn 
  • Assessment – checking what children have learnt
  • Self-regulation and executive function 
  • Partnership with parents 

Not a member of PACEY?

PACEY's always here for you. Our membership helps you power your practice; protects and reassures you, and helps you build and strengthen your early years and childcare community. Join PACEY for everything you need to deliver high quality childcare and early education to the children and families you look after from as little as 40p a day, including insurance.

Trial CEY smart

If you are not a PACEY member yet, you can try a number of CEY smart courses completely free of charge. Discover the following courses as a non-member, then many more when you join PACEY.

  • An introduction to mathematical development in the early years
  • Inspection and you – Education Inspection Framework Jargon busting
  • An introduction to Speech Language and Communication in the Early Years