Coalition Seeks Input From Early Years Sector with Launch of Birth to 5 Matters Draft

14th December 2020

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Coalition seeks input from early years sector with launch of Birth to 5 Matters draft

The first draft of Birth to 5 Matters – Guidance by the sector, for the sector is published today, along with a consultation survey seeking feedback from practitioners. The nonstatutory guidance is produced by the Early Years Coalition, a group of 18 major early years organisations, and aims to support practitioners as they implement the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage.

‘Nearly 100 people have been working hard in specialist Working Groups to develop the guidance,’ said Nancy Stewart, who is leading the project. ‘The level of enthusiasm and commitment to working together is inspiring.  The content reflects the expertise of practitioners working in all kinds of settings as well as researchers and consultants.’

The online consultation will run until 11 January after which the guidance will be revised in response to the feedback, before a second round of consultation in February.  The complete Birth to 5 Matters document plus online resources will be launched in March.

‘In this draft we have responded to the messages from our initial survey in the autumn.  The guidance includes new sections on play and the characteristics of effective learning, plus we are including examples of the characteristics of effective learning in action, embedded in the areas of learning and development,’ said Ms Stewart. ‘I think a real strength of the guidance is the way it has been updated to emphasise things that are vital for young children’s education today, with strong messages about inclusion, equality, the environment and technology.  It also reflects great expertise in the areas of learning, based not only on academic evidence but also on practice in settings from baby rooms to schools.’

‘We hope that practitioners in all kinds of settings and at all qualification levels will take part in the survey, so that we can respond to their views and needs.  One important area where we are seeking views of the sector is how to describe learning and development in terms of ages and stages.  It isn’t an easy question, because we know that children follow their own winding learning paths at their own rates, but at the same time having an idea of an age band of development can help to identify children who may benefit from additional support.  We want to know what practitioners think is the best way forward, so we are consulting on different options,’ said Ms Stewart.

Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive of Early Education and Chair of the Early Years Coalition said, ‘This draft guidance is a testament to the enthusiasm of the sector for doing what is best for children.  We want to thank all the people have given their time and expertise for free to develop the guidance, building on what has gone before.  By giving us further feedback, colleagues right across the sector can help us shape the final version to meet their needs.  We want to hear from practitioners and leaders in all kinds of setting, working with children at all ages from birth to 5, whether they are new to early years or seasoned practitioners.  We want all views to be heard and taken into account as we develop the final version of the resource.’

To download the first draft of Birth to 5 Matters and take part in the survey, go to .


  1. For further information, contact Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive, Early Education (email: tel.  07712 398672) Nancy Stewart, Birth to Five Matters Project Lead (email , tel. 07500993973)
  1. The coalition members are:
  • British Early Childhood Education Research Association (BECERA)
  • Early Education
  • Early Childhood Forum (ECF)
  • Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN)
  • Early Years Alliance
  • Froebel Trust
  • Keeping Early Years Unique (KEYU)
  • LGBTQIA Early Years
  • Montessori St Nicholas
  • National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
  • National Education Union (NEU)
  • Sector Endorsed Foundation Degrees in the Early Years (SEFDEY)
  • Sightlines Initiative
  • Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship
  • TACTYC: the Association for Professional Development in the Early Years

The initiative has funding from the coalition partners and from Cosy Fund.

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