On-Entry Assessments: EYFS guidance

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By Fe Luton

As we settle our children into their new surroundings, it is crucial that we establish where they are in their learning journey and how we can move them forward. Taking time to glean the information we need to establish this ‘baseline’ has always been of the upmost importance… while the methods we use to do so have, at times, been controversial.

Early years children

2015 saw the introduction of formal baseline expectations in Reception, with the DfE championing a shortlist of possible providers for this. The content and approaches of these baseline assessments varied from computer based assessments, to task and paper assessments, to observations. Within 8 months, however, the DfE had backtracked after a number of issues and declared the baseline to no longer be statutory. They have since reintroduced the notion, announcing a baseline check to be implemented in 2020 that will allow a measure of progress from the entry point of a primary school to the point at which children leave.

Whether a formal baseline or not, it is important that we have an established starting point in order to track progress and thus ensure that children are moving forward at the right rate. But how do we establish this in a way that not only reflects the children concerned, but that also doesn’t traumatise them (or you) in the process?

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