Coronavirus, early years and childcare

To prevent the spread of coronavirus and in order to follow government guidelines, families should only attend a Children’s centre if they have been invited to do so.

Childcare during coronavirus

If you are a key worker or you have a vulnerable child, you can apply for childcare 

The department for education has clear information for childcare settings that remain open for key workers and vulnerable children.

Children's centres to remain open during lockdown

All 12 Children’s Centres in Tower Hamlets will remain open throughout lockdown for vulnerable children. Health and safety remains our top priority - for staff, families and the community. We have adapted our services to be ‘Covid-secure’ and we will continue to offer:

- Health appointments

- Early learning for two-years-olds

- Face-to-face support for vulnerable, and newly vulnerable, parents 

We will be following the latest government guidance, which means our timetables and services are subject to change.

Please phone your local children’s centre before you visit to make an appointment and find out the latest information

Training sessions 

We have resumed some first aid and safeguarding courses and adult education courses.

Thank you

We would like to express our gratitude to all early education and childcare settings and childminders who have continued throughout COVID to offer Tower Hamlets children a wonderful, safe, caring and stimulating time. Thank you!

Early Years Foundation Stage


If you are looking for a childminder, nursery, preschool or other childcare place for your child, contact the Family Information Service.


On this page you will find information about:


  1.  What is the Early Years Foundation Stage  (EYFS)?

  2.  The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile(EYFSP)

  3. Early Years Foundation Stage resources

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for an integrated approach to the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old, including the reception year of school. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers (often called early years settings), must follow the EYFS, including childminders, pre schools, nurseries and school reception classes.

Young children learn best through play. The EYFS recognises the central importance of play, direct experiences and active learning to support young children's learning effectively.

The Development Matters guidance is non-statutory guidance it shows how the four themes of the EYFS Framework and the principles that inform them work together to support babies and children. The Unique Child develops and learns through interaction in Positive Relationships and Enabling Environments. It gives examples of how the Characteristics of Effective Early Learning can be supported and extended by adults and how integral they are to all the areas of learning and development.

There is also a helpful guide for parents and carers called What to expect, when?

The areas of learning and development in the EYFS

The EYFS incudes seven areas of learning and development, three 'prime areas':

1. personal, social and emotional development

2. communication and language

3. physical development

And four 'specific areas':

4. literacy

5. maths

6. understanding the world

7. expressive arts and design.

The EYFS also highlights how young children learn, and calls these the characteristics of effective learning. These are:

1. Playing and exploring

2. Active learning,

3. Creating and Thinking Critically

The 17 aspects

The areas of learning are subdivided into 17 aspects. These are divided into overlapping age bands that culminate in the early learning goals (ELGs). It is expected that all children achieve all the ELGs by the end of Reception.

Prime areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

1. Self-confidence and self-awareness

2. Managing feelings and behaviour

3. Making relationships


Communication and Language

4. Listening and attention

5. Understanding

6. Speaking


Physical Development

7. Moving and handling

8. Health and self-care


Specific areas


9. Reading

10 Writing



11. Numbers

12. Shape, space and measures


Understanding the World

13. People and communities

14. The world

15. Technology


Expressive Art and Design

16. Exploring and using media and material

17. Being imaginative


Age bands

There are six age bands specified in the EYFS Statutory framework.  These culminate in the early learning goal which is the expectation at the end of the Reception year.

  • Birth to 11 months
  • 8-20 months
  • 16-26 months
  • 22-36 months
  • 30-50 months
  • 40-60+ months

Early learning goal

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The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) summarises and describes children's attainment at the end of the Foundation Stage that is, at the end of the reception year. It is a legal requirement that all schools assess children at this point, and report to parents how their children are doing. Assessment is across all of the areas of learning and development, and describes the child's characteristics of effective learning.

The EYFSP is a summary of children's learning at the end of the reception year. There are 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs), across the seven areas of learning and development. All children are expected to reach these goals. You can access then in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Handbook

The EYFSP has been confirmed as statutory for 2016/17. A programme of support and advice in individual schools and training will therefore continue. This is a key part of addressing the Good Level of Development and narrowing the gap.

Teachers' assessment

Teachers' assessments are primarily based on observing a child's daily activities and events. In particular practitioners note the learning which a child demonstrates spontaneously, independently and consistently in a range of contexts. Accurate assessment takes into account a range of perspectives. This should include those of the child, parents and other adults who have significant interactions with the child. The local authority carries out moderation, to help schools across the borough make sure they are all working to the same standards, and reaching similar judgements about children’s achievements.

Good level of development

Twelve of the Early Learning Goals, in the prime areas, personal, social and emotional development, communication and language and physical development, and the specific areas of literacy and maths are considered together to make up a 'good level of development', or GLD. Achieving a good level of development will help a child to make a good start in Year 1.

Children are judged to be either at an ‘emerging’, ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ level of development in relation to the Early Learning Goals. Point scores are awarded as follows: ‘emerging’ = 1; ‘expected’ = 2; ‘exceeding’ = 3.  The GLD is a measurement of attainment not progress.  For a child to attain a GLD they must score 2 or more in all 12 ELGs identified above.

Collecting EYFSP data

Tower Hamlets collects the information about children's attainment at the end of the reception year, at the request of head teachers and the government. The information is anonymised, by removing the child's name and details. We can then analyse how we are doing as a borough, schools can understand how they are doing in comparison to each other, and to other local authorities. We use this information to help us plan our development programmes and training for all early years settings, including schools, to ensure that early years practice in schools is continually improving.

We want to make sure that all children can realise their full potential, whatever their circumstances, so we also calculate the gap between the children whose families are most disadvantaged and the children whose families aren't. We aim to reduce this gap by offering specific support to schools and early years settings, and by focusing our work on early intervention in children's centres. This is called 'narrowing the gap'. For more information please see Early Intervention: The Next Steps and The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults.


Children are very young at the end of the Reception year and research indicates that testing them produces a very different result at different times. Young children are very influenced by environmental factors and this affects test results. In early years we regularly look at what children are doing, listen to them and talk about what they are doing to develop their thinking.

Staff make notes about these interactions. Summarising this information forms the basis of the EYFSP data. We try to limit paperwork to the absolute minimum, but it is very important to know how children are progressing and to support them so that they can achieve the early learning goals.

The early years advisory teachers visit 30% of schools every year. Most are part of a four year rolling programme which ensures all schools receive a visit. If head teachers would like a visit because they have specific challenges, we are happy to assist. The visits are known as "moderation" visits and their purpose is to ensure that everyone is making decisions in the same way and at the same level of expectation.

The early years advisory teachers work closely with a team of gifted serving senior early years teachers whose practical advice, skills, knowledge and understanding are excellent. Each school in that year's programme receives one visit per term. We do this because we work closely in partnership with schools to help them develop their practice. This approach is improving our results progressively and therefore improving our children's life chances.

Download our Moderation Plan 2018/2019

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Early Years Foundation Stage resources

You will be able to find a variety of Early Years Foundation Stage resources by visiting our useful practitioner resource page.

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