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Development Matters

in the Early Years Foundation Stage

New non-statutory guidance for the revised EYFS (2021), also entitled Development Matters, has been published by the Department for Education.  It is intended for use with the Statutory Framework which came into effect in September 2021.  Read our information about the changes to the EYFS

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About Development Matters 2012 - a historical note

Development Matters  was produced by Early Education in 2012 with support from the Department for Education. It is non-statutory guidance which supports all those working in early childhood education settings to implement the requirements of the Statutory Framework for the EYFS.  

Development Matters 2012 demonstrates how the four themes of the EYFS Framework and the principles that inform them work together to support the development of babies, toddlers and young children within the context of the EYFS framework.  The document also illustrates how the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ may be supported and extended by adults as well as how they underpin the ‘Prime’ and ‘Specific’ areas of learning and development.

All those working to support the early learning of young children can use Development Matters as part of daily observation, assessment and planning. It can also be used at points during the EYFS as a guide to making best-fit summative judgements, with parents and colleagues across agencies, in relation to whether a child is showing typical development, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age.

The age/stage bands overlap because these are not fixed age boundaries but suggest a typical range of development. When using Development Matters it is however important to remember that babies, toddlers and young children develop at their own rates and in their own ways.  The development statements and their order are not necessary steps for every child and should not be used as checklists.

Download Development Matters (2012) 

Download Development Matters (2021) from

Further reading

Read about the 2021 EYFS reforms and the Early Years Coalition's guidance for the sector, Birth to 5 Matters

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