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HELP! Getting myself in an assessment muddle!


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Hi everyone,


I am going around in circles and getting nowhere at the moment! I am trying to work out a way of deciding when children are not on -track within nursery. We use development matters to highlight which age band children are working within. However as you know the age bands cross over such as 30-50 then 40-60+ etc. We are looking at using the descriptors - beginning, developing, securing to show where a child is within each band. However, as a nursery teacher with three intakes of children I teach some children currently aged 54 months and some aged 42. The end of nursery expectation is that the children will be beginning to be working within 40-60+ months, set by the LEA as far as I know. We have always just treated this end goal as the same for each child but the more I look at it the more confusing I am finding it. If I report my oldest children who will enter reception aged 58 months as developing within the age band which they may be then they would be above age related expectations within - this would imply that that they leave reception exceeding as well however, these may be children that do not do that????

Also, at what point do you say a child is 'off track' i.e. say they are working at developing 30-50 but are 52 months old - are they to be classed as behind? They still have a term to get to beginning 40-60 and they should do that. Do I still say that they are off track?!


Basically, I have super confused myself and have the very hard job of deciding points for all children in nursery that show that they are behind, on track and exceeding at any given point within the year!!!

Definitely need some assessment advice! :wacko:



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Thanks - I have had a good read through and it looks really good. My pickle now however is that as a school it would be argued that children entering reception at beginning 40-60+ will meet the ELG, children that are developing 40-60+ when they enter reception would be expected to exceed it. So if months of age are to be taken into consideration in nursery then what of the child that enters aged 58 months. To be in line with their typical age range could it not be argued that they should enter reception as secure in 40-60+?? This however, would highlight that this child would be expected to exceed and attain exceeding in their age range when they enter Year 1. Maybe I am missing something obvious! It just seems really hard to marry up viewing the child in relation to their months in age with the age band system! Thanks and sorry if I am being daft!

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I think you are overthinking what is actually just non statutory guidance!

The 40 - 60 Plus band does accommodate the fact that children will be up to 70+ months at the end of reception (we always forget the little plus sign there!) There is a body of knowledge which is not essentially developmental but requires teaching (all the specific areas) and children are expected to be at the standard of the ELG by the end of the EYFS, which is exemplified with statutory examples.

The overlap of the ages/stages is to see children's learning as non linear. But as children typically start school nursery at term after third birthday for funding reasons then they would usually be at least 36 months. I would say this means that a child with generally typical skills would therefore be in the 30 - 50 band.

We have to remember though that the content of the development bands will cover quite a wide range of skills that children might typically demonstrate over the period of time covered; 30 - 50 months is actually 2.5yrs to 4.2 yrs. There is a heck of a lot of development over what is almost 2 years of a childs life!! 40 - 60 plus is 3.4yrs to nearly 6.

The trouble with ticking and moving along with expected steps of progress is that the sense of proportionality in the judgements is lost!


I really think we should be far more focused on deepening children's skills within the context of the COEL rather than racing to leap from emerging to developing etc. However as a rule of thumb if that is the system being used I would generally say children enter nursery at 30 - 50 emerging and enter reception at 40 - 60 emerging.



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I agree with Catma.

Managers and Heads need their data to prove that the children in their settings are progressing as they 'should', but there is no 'should' in early childhood development - sometimes children progress in leaps and bounds and at other times they appear to plateau. I think we should worry less about how our assessments indicate future development and just say what we see - and concentrate on making learning opportunities fun.

Having been an Early Years teacher for more years than I like to remember, I know that the paperwork requirements are likely to change at any given moment - but the children and their progression remain the same! Trust your professional judgement and enjoy your kids.


Mrs P x

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