What is the EYFS profile?
The EYFS profile is a summary of your child’s attainment at the end of Reception. It’s not a test, and your child can’t ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.
The profile measures your child’s attainment in 17 areas of learning, known as Early Learning Goals (ELGs). These are:
Communication and language development
- Listening and attention
- Understanding (e.g. following instructions, responding to questions)
- Moving and handling (showing good control and coordination in large movements, like climbing, and small, like using scissors)
- Health and self-care
Personal, social and emotional development
- Shape, space and measures
Understanding of the world
- People and communities
- The world
Expressive arts and design
- Exploring and using media and materials (including music and dance)
- Being imaginative.
How are the assessments made?
None of us like to think about our little five-year-olds being assessed, but the process of working out your child’s attainment according to the EYFS profile is very unintrusive. It’s based mainly on their teacher’s knowledge of your child and observations of what they can do.
Throughout their time in Reception, the teacher will watch, listen to and interact with your child (and the others in their class) as they take part not just in formal learning, but also as they play and go about their daily activities like eating their lunch and getting changed for PE. Some observations will be planned – for instance, the teacher might spend an unbroken 10 minutes with your child on a set activity – but others will be spontaneous.
As the teacher observes your child, they’ll record when they see evidence of them meeting an ELG. This could be by making a brief note on a Post-It, taking a photo or just making a mental note to write down later. They’ll be looking to see that your child is consistently and independently showing evidence of fulfilling each ELG. Classroom activities will be planned to make sure children can demonstrate as many of the ELGs as possible.
In addition to teacher observations, the EYFS profile will include evidence from you. For example, you may be given slips of paper to write down your child’s achievements, which you then pass on to your child’s teacher, or the teacher might send home tasks with space for you to comment on your child’s progress.
This is important because the EYFS profile is supposed to be a complete picture of your child’s development, not just a snapshot of what happens at school. Sometimes, children might show skills at home that their teacher doesn’t see – for instance, if your child is very shy at school, the teacher might think that they’re not reaching the expected level for self-confidence and self-awareness, but at home, they might be outgoing and chatty.
The profile will also include evidence from your child (for example, the teacher will give them chances to talk about their own learning: ‘How did you find that activity? Was it easy or difficult? What could you do differently next time?’) as well as other adults who are involved with them, such as teaching assistants.