2016 Early years foundation stage: assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA)

Section 3: Moderation

Information about independent moderation and the responsibilities of headteachers, governing bodies and managers

3.1 Internal moderation

The moderation of EYFS profile assessments begins within each individual setting. It is supported by LAs, or LA approved agencies, through a programme of visits and meetings. Within their own settings, practitioners can agree assessment judgements with others informally. This might involve 2 practitioners, for example a teacher and a teaching assistant or a reception class teacher and a year 1 teacher, discussing evidence about a pupil’s development.

3.2 Local authority responsibilities

LAs have a statutory duty to make provision to ensure the accuracy and consistency of the assessments made by early years providers in their area. They must set up and carry out moderation arrangements to:

  • secure the consistency and accuracy of judgements made by different practitioners
  • reassure practitioners that their judgements are accurate, valid and consistent with national standards
  • assure moderators that an acceptable level of accuracy and validity has been achieved for assessments recorded and reported by the settings for which they have responsibility

Moderation of the EYFS profile is a sampling process and not a method for checking each pupil’s attainment. LA moderation visits use discussion to check teachers’ ability to make accurate assessments and apply them consistently. Evidence discussed includes:

  • materials
  • knowledge of the pupil
  • anecdotal incidents
  • results of observations
  • information from additional sources that supports the overall picture of a pupil’s development

Evidence doesn’t need to be formally recorded or documented. The extent to which the practitioner chooses to record information will depend on individual preference. Paperwork should be kept to the minimum that practitioners need to illustrate, support and recall their knowledge of the pupil’s attainment. The outcome of moderation should be recorded.

The EYFS profile handbook’ includes guidelines and examples of effective moderation practice for LAs. LAs must ensure that all providers are visited regularly as part of a cycle of moderation visits. They must be notified of whether the EYFS profile assessment is being carried out in accordance with requirements.

25% of settings must receive a moderation visit each year. LAs must inform settings which are due to receive a visit by the end of the spring term. For moderation purposes, these settings will need to complete interim judgements against all early learning goals (ELGs) at the beginning of May for pupils in the final year of the EYFS. All 17 ELGs must be scrutinised during the visit.

Section 13 of the Childcare Act 2006 requires LAs in accordance with regulations SI 2014/2319 to secure the provision of information, advice and training, for childcare providers, prospective providers and childcare employees. LAs must offer training in EYFS assessment and the completion of the EYFS profile summaries to all providers who need it. 75% of settings must attend EYFS profile training (including agreement trialling activities).

LAs must ensure that EYFS profile assessment judgements are moderated. This means appointing and training moderators with appropriate experience of the EYFS and the ELGs to secure consistent standards in assessment judgements.

The LA moderator may judge that the assessment is not in line with the exemplified standards. If so, the LA can require the provider to:

  • arrange for the practitioner to undertake further training or moderation activities
  • reconsider their assessments as advised by the moderator

All English LAs must have regard to this guidance by virtue of article 4(2) of the EYFS (Learning and Development Requirements) Order 2007. If an LA chooses to use a moderation model which doesn’t rely on moderation visits, they must ensure they can show that all the key elements of the moderation visit are protected. Any deviation from this guidance may be deemed as not meeting statutory requirements.

3.3 Headteachers’, governing bodies’ and managers’ responsibilities

Headteachers, governing bodies and managers of early years settings are responsible for the reliability of their EYFS profile outcomes. They must use quality assurance processes to ensure that the data accurately reflects the attainment of the current cohort of pupils.

They must arrange for practitioners who are involved in completing EYFS profiles to take part in LA moderation activities at least once a year.

If they receive an LA moderation visit they must meet reasonable requests from the LA moderator:

  • to enter the premises to carry out the visit
  • to amend assessments
  • for practitioners to take part in further training or moderation activities

In addition they must:

  • allow their LA to examine and take copies of documents and other articles relating to the EYFS profile and assessments
  • provide their LA with such information relating to the EYFS profile and assessment as it may reasonably request

They are also responsible for ensuring that any of their practitioners who are involved in making assessments have the opportunity to become familiar with effective practice. This may involve:

  • attendance at training courses
  • visits by moderators to settings
  • moderation meetings within settings (in-house moderation)
  • moderation meetings with practitioners from other settings