Easily show next steps in EYFS for children with SEND

Curriculum: Early Years Foundation Stage SEND

Recommended Assessment Framework: Early Steps 2021

Early Years Foundation Stage 2021
  • Early Years Foundation Stage 2021 – for Early Years settings and Reception classes in Primary Schools
  • For children with SEND – divides the broad levels in the new Development Matters into smaller sections to show small steps of progress and profile needs
  • Track children’s progress with an easy to use inclusive assessment package that covers recent EYFS changes and the new EYFS 2021 curriculum
  • Show next steps in EYFS for children with SEND

Need help profiling the needs of children with SEND in Early Years?

Book a free online meeting to find out how to show progress and manage your EYFS assessments and evidence of learning in one easy to use system



Choose the right SEND assessment framework for your Early Years setting

Early Steps 2021

EYFS Assessment for children with SEND

Take a look at our assessment framework for children working at a lower development level

For children working at a lower developmental level, where you need to show progress, you should use our Early Steps framework.

With the release of the new Development Matters 2020 and other EYFS changes, there has been a reduction in detail around assessment to reduce workload. The first band now covers birth to 3. This has reduced the amount of assessment and evidence needed for children in this age group.

For older children in nursery or reception with SEND, working at these levels, there is still a need to show smaller steps of progress. This is where our Early Steps framework should be used.

For children working at typical development levels in Early Years, we recommend using our Development Matters framework. It is designed to provide a quick, simple to use eyfs tracker, reducing workload where the detail is not needed. 

SENCOs– Visit our SEN page to read more about how our assessment frameworks can help you!

Early Steps 2021 Sample Pages for children with SEND
download sample pages

Both of our EYFS assessment frameworks cover all 7 areas of learning from Birth to the Early Learning Goals.

Physical Development
Communications and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design

Development Matters

EYFS assessment for children at ARE

Read more about our assessment framework for children working at typical development levels in Early Years

Read more

EYFS Assessment Frameworks Comparison

See how our frameworks fit alongside Development Matters and EYFS 2021

download comparison chart

Show progress for ALL your Early Years children

Connecting Steps combines assessment frameworks for multiple curriculums into a single assessment system

  • Track mixed abilities using different assessment frameworks all in one system
  • Generate comparable data for children working at ARE and those with SEND
  • Show whole setting progress by analysing all of your assessment data together
  • There’s only one system to manage and train staff on
Assessment frameworks for Primary Schools infographic

Assess Quickly

  • Connecting Steps has lots of features that make assessing children’s progress easier.
  • Our group assessment screen has extremely flexible grouping options. You can create groups for different sessions, for different key workers or you can create custom groups as you go by filtering students.

Easily Show Small Steps of Progress & Next Steps in EYFS 


  • The new Development Matters 2020 requires less detailed assessment. It’s first age band now covers birth to 3. This is fine for children working at ARE but makes it difficult to show the small steps of progress made by many children with SEND.
  • Our Early Steps 2021 assessment framework assists with the observation process by breaking down these stages into smaller steps. ‘Birth to 3’ is split into 8 levels, to help show progress for children with SEND.
  • Early Years practitioners can quickly and easily record even the smallest of achievements and identify each child’s next steps.
  • Assessments can be displayed in a variety of ways, such as individual and group reports and graphs – to quickly and easily highlight progress made.
Early Years children

Is it time to rethink your Early Years assessment?

Find out more about how to quickly and easily show progress for ALL children in your setting


Evidence Achievements

  • Connecting Steps works with Evisense, our evidence software. The 2 systems work together to reduce workload even further.
  • You can capture evidence using Evisense and link it to the EYFS 2021 framework. Connecting Steps highlights where evidence has been added to support assessments and this can be viewed within Connecting Steps.*
  • Make use of Mobile Devices – Connecting Steps and Evisense work on iPads and other tablets.** This allows teachers to assess and evidence on the go, in the moment.

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*Subscription required for Evisense, or sign up for a FREE 90-day trial.
**10” or larger device recommended for Connecting Steps. Evisense has an app for phones and tablets.

What do Teachers think?

Easily link evidence to the Characteristics of Effective Learning

“Using Evisense, we can securely capture and store evidence of learning and link it directly to the Characteristics of Effective Learning for EYFS. It is straightforward and easy to use.”

Yvonne Skillern

Primary Leader, Highfield Ely Academy

Crucial in securing our outstanding OFSTED rating

“Connecting Steps helped us strengthen our assessment procedures and tighten our planning. It was crucial in securing our outstanding OFSTED Inspection!”

Lisa Bird

Headteacher, Elmsleigh Infant & Nursery School

End the frustrating process of printing, gluing and collating evidence

“I love using Evisense to organise my evidence of learning digitally. Before Evisense, evidence was static. It sat in a folder, I felt frustrated by the process of printing and gluing and collating. It was costly and not time efficient”

Lindsay Ireland

Class Teacher, Firpark School

Easy to use and clear to track progress

“Early Steps 2021 is easy to use and it is clear to track the progress of the children.”

Stephanie Thompson

Class Teacher, Great Arley School

Shows progress for our pupils who are working at the lowest levels

“We’ve used Early Steps 2021 to help us identify where the different milestones within the revised Development Matters fall within the 0-3 years stage. Consequently, we have integrated the key steps from B Squared and those which feature in Development Matters, into our curriculum. We have now updated our curriculum ages and stages to reflect the B Squared levels. Having them broken down further also means we can illustrate progress for our pupils who are working at the lowest levels.”

Alexis Gardner

Assistant Headteacher, KTS Academy

One system for quick and easy assessment and tracking of children of all abilities

Home screen for assessment software
Individual assessment grid
Group Assessment

Find out more about the benefits of using one inclusive system to track children’s progress