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Development Matters guidance

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Friday, 13 September, 2013

updated Sept 13

Many of you have been asking whether Development Matters has been replaced or removed. We are pleased to confirm that its status as non-statutory guidance has not changed. It remains highly valued by the DfE and the sector.

It is still available to download or purchase:  

The confusion has been caused in part by an erroneous statement in Ofsted’s subsidiary guidance that changes were being made to Development Matters.  We understand that this document should be corrected shortly to remove this reference.

A related source of confusion about the status of Development Matters may be the publication by the DfE of a document entitled Early years outcomes: A non-statutory guide for practitioners and inspectors to help inform understanding of child development through the early years.

Although the source of the material is not quoted, this is in effect an extract from Development Matters: the column “A Unique Child: observing how a child is learning”.  By removing the Positive Relationships  and Enabling Environment sections which draw attention to the adult role in children's development  - as well as the  characteristics of effective learning -  this cut-down document fails to meet its stated purpose of supporting an understanding of child development. As Early Education members are well aware, development doesn't just happen - the child develops and learns in interaction with other people and the environment. Development is not a set of outcomes on which to judge children.

Leaving out the characteristics of effective learning, presumably because they cannot be quantified, also misses the importance of knowing how children learn and continually supporting them to be strong, motivated and independent learners.  In many ways this is the most important part of child development and of practitioners' job, so it is a crucial omission.

It also fails to mention that S1.10 of the EYFS statutory framework requires practitioners to reflect on how children learn.

The new Outcomes document has the same status as Development Matters so practitioners can of course continue to use the full version in Development Matters rather than just this extract, and we hope some Ofsted inspectors will choose to do the same.

Development Matters is also available to download on the Foundation Years website.