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Progress in early years foundation stage profile results slows

By Rachel LawlerFoundation Stage results

71.8% of children achieved a “good level of development” in foundation stage profile tests in 2018/19, according to statistics released today.

The results show a 0.3% increase in the number of children reaching this standard since last year, although progress has started to stall. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of children reaching a “good level of development” increased from 51.7% to 69.3%. Comparatively, between 2016 and 2019 the percentage of children reaching this level increased just 2.5%.

Increasing gap
The statistics also reveal a fall in the average total point score for the lowest performing 20% of children. The average point score for these children has fallen from 23.2 to 23.

The percentage gap between all children and the lowest attaining 20% also increased from 31.8 in 2017/18 to 32.4 in 2018/19.

Stalling progress
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “It is undoubtedly positive that the majority of young children are progressing well by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. That said, the fact remains that nearly a third are still not achieving a ‘good level of development at the end of reception, and it is concerning to see that the progress that has been made over recent years is beginning to stall.

“All children, regardless of background, deserve the best possible start in life and government must recognise that adequate investment is crucial in supporting providers to make this possible.

"With a consultation on the future of the EYFS imminent, these results also demonstrate the importance of seeing a child’s development in the round, rather than focussing on a narrow set of formal skills. Many in the sector are rightly concerned that a broader, observation-based approach to the early years is falling out of favour, and being replaced with a focus on easy-to-measure skills, to the detriment of children’s early learning.

“Quality early education puts the needs of the child at its centre. That means concentrating on how children actually develop, rather than risk harming development by obsessing over how best it can be tracked."