Research and analysis

Practitioners' experiences of the early years foundation stage

This research report describes the context, design, conduct and findings of an inquiry into practitioners' experiences of the early years foundation stage.



The main aim of this study was to elicit practitioners’ views and understand their experiences in using the early years foundation stage (EYFS) to inform a planned review of the framework to take place in 2010.

The three main research questions were:

  • how does the EYFS influence day-to-day practice with children and families
  • how, if at all, has it supported improvements in the care and education offered by practitioners
  • what obstacles and difficulties do practitioners face in the effective use of the EYFS

The EYFS is a framework for all registered providers of services for children under 5, which became statutory in September 2008. It marks the first time that practitioners from all sectors of the early childhood workforce, from the head teachers of primary schools to registered childminders and after-school play-workers, have been required to observe the same guidelines relating to the education and care of young children.

The framework provides statutory guidance, not only on the ways in which development and learning are to be supported within schools and settings, but on the ways in which relationships with families are to be established in support of these goals.

Published 26 August 2010