Development Matters – July Changes and Updates 

Posted: 12th August 2021


The new Development Matters was developed and released by the Department of Education in 2020. Most EYFS teachers will have looked through the new document and have started to get their head around these big changes. EYFS assessment will look completely different but we as teachers are adaptable and excited to implement change. 

Then… just as we are ready to hit the ground running with the new Development Matters, Boom! It’s been updated again. But fear not, we at Edubox, have gone through the updated Development Matters and below we will begin to unpack these changes so you can continue to feel organised for September. The Development Matters document containing the July updates can be viewed here – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1007446/6.7534_DfE_Development_Matters_Report_and_illustrations_web__2_.pdf

Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning 

A few learning intentions have been removed from the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning, for example, in Active learning they have removed – ‘Do things independently that they have been previously taught’ and ‘Use a range of strategies to reach a goal they have set themselves.’ I feel that removing these two learning objectives demonstrates the importance of assessing children on what they can achieve when supported rather than what they can do independently making the CofETL achievable for more learners. 

They have also added more detail in other learning intentions. For example with the learning intention – ‘Guide their own thinking and actions by referring to visual aids or by talking to themselves while playing. For example, a child doing a jigsaw might whisper under their breath: “Where does that one go? – I need to find the big horse next.” They have decided to add ‘referring to visual aids’. Again I feel that these changes have been to make Development Matters more inclusive ensuring all children can access the EYFS curriculum. 

Areas of learning 

Minor changes include grammatical changes for example, changing ‘can’t to cannot’ and in some instances where the document gives examples of how to support this – names have been changed to reflect the diversity of our students in England. 

They  have also added ‘religion’ into the learning objective under Personal, Social and Emotional Development – ‘Notice and ask questions about differences, such as skin colour, types of hair, gender, special needs and disabilities, religion and so on’. I think the writers have revised certain elements to ensure inclusivity. 

They have also added toilet hygiene, healthy eating and brushing teeth to Personal, Social and Emotional Development and removed related learning objectives from Physical Development. 

In Mathematics, the expectation for number bonds has been lowered. The original new Development Matters wanted children in Reception to be able to recall number bonds from numbers for 0-10. This has been revised to recalling number bonds for numbers 0-5 and some to 10. 

What do these changes mean if I have purchased a curriculum product?

Fortunately, the July changes are very minimal which means your curriculum products will still serve the exact purpose you purchased them for. To support you with the changes, we have made a pdf highlighting each change so you can use the very latest updated information alongside your curriculum products. To download the updates and changes from July 2021 please click here, and sign up to our newsletter to gain access. 

Development Matters Graphic 01