Bristol Assessment Guidance

We believe that every child can become a capable and mastery learner through trusting relationships and a rich and meaningful curriculum that builds upon their previous knowledge and understanding.

The Bristol Early Years Assessment Guidance has been produced to support settings and school with developing ethical and evidence-informed assessment policies and procedures. This guidance is relevant to all early years providers, childminders and early years provision in schools.

The Purpose of this Guidance is to:

  • Provide clarity about the Statutory EYFS 2021 and its expectations in terms of assessment.
  • Establish a set of principles which will inform assessment policy and practice.
  • Establish a common understanding on assessment in the Early Years in Bristol.
  • Provide examples of good practice.
  • Sign-post practitioners and leaders to formative and summative assessment tools.
  • Enable settings to review their assessment processes and make changes.

There are an agreed set of values in Bristol that underpin ethical assessment practice

  •  Embraces and reflects the diversity of the unique child
  •  Is culturally and experientially relevant enabling every child to participate
  •  Creating a shared vocabulary for learning that everyone understands informed by:
  •  The voice of the child as leaders and co-constructors of their own learning
  •  The perspective of parents as experts, who have a unique insight into the needs and interests of their
  •  The practitioner’s professional knowledge
  •  Other professionals involved with the child and family
  •  Focuses on strengths and what a child can do (a credit, not a deficit model)
  •  Supports metacognition and meta-learning (thinking about learning) so children continually experience success in their own learning, reflect on their learning and grow to understand and express themselves as a learner
  •  Based on trusting, honest relationships that reflect genuine interest and understanding
  •  Underpinned by a sound understanding of child development
  •  Attuned to what is really going on
  •  Based on knowledge not assumptions
  •  Has the child at the heart of it – the child is central
  •  Informs the richness of the curriculum and meaningful learning experiences
  •  Happens every day as an integral part of provision
  •  Moves learning forward, supports and challenges learning

The 2021 EYFS reminds us:

“Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork. When assessing whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, practitioners should draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement and should not be required to prove this through collection of physical evidence.” Statutory EYFS 2021. Para 2.1.

The Bristol Assessment Guidance document and supporting materials can be downloaded here:

Bristol Early Years Assessment Guidance November 2022
Summative Pathway November 2022
Summative Overview EYFS


Nicola Theobald, Lead for Early Years Partnerships

Kate Hubble, Early Years Improvement Officer

Kate Irvine, Early Years Improvement Officer, Early Years Consultant

Beth Osborne, Early Years Consultant

Ali Carrington, Early Years Consultant

Anna Morgan, Early Years Consultant

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