EYFS framework: changes from September 2021

Changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework applied from 1 September 2021. Download our summary sheet to compare and contrast the changes with the previous framework, and read about the changes to assessment and moderation.

Last reviewed on 3 May 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 38850
  1. The EYFS framework changed slightly in September 2021
  2. New definitions for the 'prime' and 'specific' areas of learning
  3. Changes to what the early learning goals cover
  4. Assessment and moderation
  5. Minor change to safeguarding and welfare requirements
  6. What has not changed

The EYFS framework changed slightly in September 2021

The new EYFS framework has been valid from 1 September 2021. 

This article summarises the differences between the new and old frameworks, and is based on this guidance as well as the outcome of the DfE's consultation on these changes. 

There's also a new version of the Development Matters curriculum guidance from 2021, which isn't compulsory but the DfE recommends using it alongside the new EYFS framework. 

New definitions for the 'prime' and 'specific' areas of learning

The DfE updated these to make them clearer and more specific. Refer to the non-statutory Development Matters curriculum guidance to help you put them into practice. 

Communication and language The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the