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

Section 5: Legal requirements and responsibilities

The legal status of the ARA, how it applies to different EYFS settings, responsibilities of those who assess or report on EYFS and legal definitions

The ARA provides further guidance on the EYFS profile, which is set out in the statutory framework. The framework sets standards for development, learning and care of pupils from birth to the age of 5. The current framework for the EYFS can be found on GOV.UK.

Section 40(2)(a) of the Childcare Act 2006 stipulates that early years providers must secure that their provision meets the learning and development requirements as specified in the EYFS (Learning and Development Requirements) Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/1772) (amended in 2014). The Act states that this Order can specify the arrangements which are required for assessing pupils for the purpose of ascertaining what they have achieved in relation to the early learning goals (ELGs).

All English local authorities (LAs) must have regard to any guidance given by STA in exercising their function under the EYFS (Learning and Development Requirements) Order 2007, article 4(2). The learning and development requirements are given legal force by this Order made under section 39 (1)(a), 42 and 44 of the Childcare Act 2006.

5.2 How the ARA applies to different EYFS settings

The ARA applies to all early years settings including:

  • all providers registered with a childminder agency
  • all providers on the early years register (eg nurseries and childminders)
  • maintained schools, non-maintained schools and independent schools with early years provision

Academies and free schools in England

Academies must implement the requirements of the EYFS (by virtue of section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006). All references to academies include free schools, as in law they are academies.

Unlike other key stages the EYFS profile must be moderated by the academy’s geographical LA. An academy must comply with its moderation requirements.

All registered early years providers are required to complete the EYFS profile assessment for any pupils in the final year of the EYFS and to participate in moderation. This includes an academy providing for pupils in the final year of the EYFS.

Funding for EYFS profile moderation activities for all schools rests within LA budgets. The DfE publishes information about funding allocations for academies.

Service children’s education schools

Service children’s education (SCE) schools are required to participate in early years national curriculum assessment and reporting arrangements in line with the arrangements for administration in England.

Overseas schools

Other overseas schools which are not SCE schools can’t participate.

Hospital schools

Pupils attending a hospital school are not subject to the assessment requirements in this ARA.

Pupils still on the register at a maintained school but attending a hospital school are required to be assessed, and the results should be reported by the home school.

Home-educated pupils

These assessment and reporting arrangements do not apply to pupils who are being educated at home, unless they are on the register of a maintained school or independent school.

Independent schools and EYFS providers registered with Ofsted under the Childcare Act 2006

All independent schools and registered EYFS providers must comply with the information in the ARA unless they have an exemption from the EYFS learning and development requirements. This includes participating in moderation arrangements for the EYFS profile and submission of EYFS profile data to the LA (this data collection is governed by section 99 of the Childcare Act 2006), as specified in the table in section 2 of this ARA.

Independent schools registered with the DfE that are not academies can take up an exemption from the learning and development requirements if they meet the conditions set out in the Direction from the Secretary of State.

Settings with pupils who are not in receipt of government funding

Under regulations made under section 99 of the Childcare Act 2006, LAs are allowed to collect specified data for pupils not in receipt of government funding in the summer term. EYFS providers are required to comply with LA requests for this data. LAs are not required to submit this data to the DfE.

The LA can request data including:

  • the learning and development category for each early learning goal (ELG)
  • the pupil’s date of birth
  • the home address where the pupil normally resides
  • the pupil’s ethnic group
  • the pupil’s gender
  • whether the pupil has a special educational need
  • if the pupil has English as an additional language

5.3 Responsibilities

All those responsible for assessing and reporting on the EYFS need to refer to this ARA and make sure they are aware of any changes from previous years.

The ARA provides guidance on the responsibilities of those involved in assessment and reporting for the EYFS. EYFS profile assessments must be completed for all pupils in the final year of the EYFS who will be 5 years old on or before Wednesday 31 August 2016, although some exceptions apply. They should read the section 2 of this ARA for information about exceptions.

The EYFS profile must be completed no later than Friday 1 July. This date applies to all EYFS providers, including:

  • all providers registered with a childminder agency
  • all providers on the early years register (eg nurseries and childminders)
  • maintained schools, non-maintained schools and independent schools with early years provision

The EYFS profile must be completed by the provider at the setting where the pupil spends the majority of their time between 8am and 6pm.


All headteachers and managers of EYFS provision have a duty to implement the EYFS. Headteachers must ensure their school or setting complies with the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. This includes completing the EYFS profile and engaging with LA moderation activities.

Headteachers must:

  • ensure an EYFS profile is completed for all eligible pupils and data is quality assured
  • ensure provision is made to meet the requirements of all pupils with special educational needs
  • take responsibility for the reliability of their EYFS profile outcomes and ensure that the data accurately reflects the level of attainment of the current cohort of pupils
  • ensure teacher judgements are monitored
  • ensure EYFS profile data is returned to their LA in accordance with the table in section 4 of this ARA
  • provide EYFS profile assessments to their school’s governing body to enable it to comply with national data submission requirements and report to parents
  • ensure the statutory requirements for the transfer of records between providers are fulfilled, including the completion of the common transfer file

Headteachers must also provide parents with a written report of the pupil’s progress against the EYFS ELGs and the opportunity to discuss the profile. If a parent requests it, headteachers will need to provide a copy of the EYFS profile report on their child’s progress free of charge.

Local authorities

LAs must ensure that EYFS providers understand and follow the requirements set out in the ARA by providing:

  • advice on all aspects of assessment at EYFS
  • training, including on ‘agreement trialling’

‘Agreement trialling’ is the process of discussing assessment judgements in a group so that all practitioners understand the national exemplification of standards and apply them consistently.

LAs must make sure assessments made by early years providers in their geographical area are accurate and consistent. LAs must do this by ensuring moderation of the EYFS profile is carried out in all schools, academies and other settings.

In terms of data LAs must:

  • ensure schools have a secure electronic system to submit EYFS profile data
  • ensure all other EYFS providers have an appropriate means for accurately recording EYFS profile results, and submitting data to their LA if requested (see the table in section 2)
  • collect EYFS profile data, and quality assure and submit it to the DfE in the required format by the due dates (see the table in section 2).

LAs must also inform STA without delay of any irregularities in settings’ assessment arrangements.

5.4 Definitions

In the ARA, the term ‘parent’ as defined in section 576 of the Education Act 1996, includes:

  • any person who is not a parent of a pupil but who has parental responsibility for the pupil
  • any person who has care of a pupil

All references to EYFS settings include any out-of-home provider of early years provision for pupils from birth to 5, for example:

  • all providers registered with a childminder agency
  • all providers on the early years register (eg nurseries and childminders)
  • maintained schools, non-maintained schools and independent schools with early years provision