Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, has written in a letter to Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, that 'Development Matters' may still be used in early years settings. Her response follows a request from the Foundation Stage Forum that she makes clear the importance and relevance of 'Development Matters' despite the new publication, 'Early Years Outcomes', which has caused much confusion within the sector.
Ms Truss has written, "'Early Years Outcomes' has been deliberately drawn from 'Development Matters'. This is precisely because 'Development Matters' also sets out particular pedagogical approaches practitioners may choose to adopt to support child development. We in Government, and inspectors, should not be prescribing a particular pedagogical approach. Sir Michael Wilshaw has explicitly said teachers are expected to take the lead in early years teaching".
She continues, "The additional material in 'Development Matters' is still an approach, but to reflect this status, we have moved it to http://foundationyears.org.uk, the site that 4Children manages as the Department's strategic partner. This site is helpful to professionals in giving access to a range of other non-statutory resources to support the implementation of the early years foundation stage. 'Development Matters' will continue to be available in future. Early years professionals are free to choose whether and how to use it".
Explaining the new document, Ms Truss states, " 'Early Years Outcomes' has been produced to be a non-statutory aide for practitioners and inspectors designed to help understanding of child development through the early years. It is a guide to typical development, while recognising that children develop at their own rates and in their own ways. It is not meant to be used as a ticklist. Ofsted are clear on the status of 'Early Years Outcomes' in their guidance for inspectors".
So, this clears it up for now! We have it from the Department for Education, that Development Matters can still be used in settings, and has not been replaced by 'Early Years Outcomes'.