A non-statutory guide for practitioners and inspectors has just been released by the Department for Education. Comprising the first column of the original Development Matters document, Early Years Outcomes has been published so that it can be used by 'childminders, nurseries and others, such as Ofsted, throughout the early years as a guide to making best-fit judgements about whether a child is showing typical development for their age, maybe at risk of delay or is ahead for their age'. It is, however, unclear whether or not this document replaces Development Matters.
It is puzzling that the Department felt it necessary to produce such a document- Development Matters has proved to be very popular with the early years workforce due to its 'non ticklist' approach and its emphasis on the characteristics of learning. Early Years Outcomes is poorly styled, with the aspects and age-bands often spanning more than page, which makes it very difficult to use and find the section you are looking for. The original Development Matters document is far more user friendly and the positive relationships and enabling environment columns are extremely helpful in supporting all staff working with our youngest children. We will be retaining Development Matters in our resource library for those who would prefer to continue using it.