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How do we assess children's learning and progress?

The new Statutory Framework for Sept 2021 emphasises a reduction in paperwork for staff saying the previous practice was very data based and checklist dominant – this was never its intention. 

Ofsted have backed this up saying they no longer want to see data but a curriculum focused around personal and social skills, language and the Characteristics of Effective learning.  At their inspections they now observe how the children learn, how staff enhance that learning and know the children have made progress.

At Woodlands we now use OPAL – Observation of Play and Learning – and the key points are:

  • Children should be recognised as individuals, not as a percentage on a chart

  • Gathering lots of information is unnecessary – staff should be part of the moment with the child, interacting and enhancing their play rather than behind an ipad screen trying to get a good photo


Why do we work in the way we do?

At Woodlands, the prime areas are our focus – we create activities to develop these.  Staff develop positive relationships with the children and their families. 


The children have choices and independence and are encouraged to engage in sustained shared thinking with staff and their peers. 


We work generally ‘in the moment’ as a lot of children’s learning arises when they follow their interests and are supported by tuned in, sensitive adults who model, encourage and demonstrate to support each child’s next steps.  We also incorporate small adult led group activities during the course of each session.


EYFS Statutory Framework

Our work is informed by the themes and principles of the EYFS which supports all the seven areas of learning.

  • A Unique Child

  • Positive Relationships

  • Enabling Environment

  • Learning and Development



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