Alliance produces definitive new guide to being a key person in the early years

19th May 2015

The Early Years Foundation Stage states that all children must be assigned a member of staff as key person. But what does it actually mean to be a key person, and how does having a key person benefit the individual child?

New Pre-school Learning Alliance publication Being a Key Person in an Early Years Setting answers just this question. It explores the relational nature of being a key person: how loving relationships between key person and child not only nurture children’s emotional well-being but also promote their potential to learn. This is just as important, of course, in supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Being a Key Person in an Early Years Setting gives a clear overview of the theoretical basis of the key person approach, starting with an explanation of attachment theory and its importance for children’s emotional security and learning. It goes on to explore how young children might experience transitions, and the benefits of using a graduated settling-in process to support them when they start in a new setting. The importance of working closely with parents as partners in children’s learning is also discussed in the context of developing the ‘relational triangle’ between child, parent and practitioner — a highly effective tool in promoting positive learning outcomes.

Designed to support individual practitioners, staff teams and setting managers, Being a Key Person in an Early Years Setting is accompanied by exclusive online resources, comprising a range of activities relating to each chapter in the book. These are suitable for personal reflection or team use at staff meetings and training days.

Michael Freeston, director of quality improvement at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, commented: “The role of the key person has developed significantly over recent years, both in terms of the sector’s understanding of the essential contribution he or she makes to each child’s development and in how the role is defined in the EYFS. This essential publication supports key persons and those who manage them to understand how to make the role a success and effective in supporting children’s early development.”

Being a Key Person in an Early Years Setting (Price for Alliance members: £9.55; Price for non-members: £13.95)

How to order:

W: Being a Key Person in an Early Years Setting
T: 0300 330 0996

For further information or to interview, Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance please contact:
Shannon Hawthorne
Pre-school Learning Alliance
T: 020 7697 2503
E: Shannon Hawthorne


Notes for editors

  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  2. Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  3. For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website:

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