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The new Development Matters on Tapestry – a few questions answered

by Ben on November 18

N.B. Since this article was written, we have continued to discuss the 2021 changes to the EYFS and refine our approaches to them. Although this article is now outdated, we have retained it to show the journey we are all on – please read this article for an update on EYFS 2021 on Tapestry. 


Now that more people, particularly Early Adopters, are using the availability of the new Development Matters on Tapestry, I have spotted a few questions coming up that I thought would be good to answer here.

Checkpoint Flags and how to use them

You will notice that the following flags are available:

  • Development Matters Guidance 2020
  • Checkpoints Birth to 3
  • Checkpoints 3 to 4
  • Early Learning Goals 2020
  • CoETL 2020

The reason that there are no Checkpoints for Reception is because the guidance does not include them. Checkpoints only appear in the Prime Areas for Birth to 3, and 3 to 4 years pathways. The Reception pathways are covered in the “Development Matters Guidance 2020” and so if you’re looking for what is included for Reception aged children, this is where you will find that information.

Checkpoints are little ‘reflection points’ where you can just stop to think about the child and say whether they are doing these things. They include a rough age that the checkpoint statement refers to e.g. Around the age of 3, can the child shift from one task to another if you fully obtain their attention, for example, by using their name? By flagging these, you are then helping yourself when you come to do your analysis as you’d have that information to hand to say whether they are achieving those checkpoints or not. It might be that you’re flagging an observation but showing that the child is demonstrating something that could be deemed relevant to that flag.


Selecting pathways

The other thing I have seen questions about is how to select the different pathways within the areas. As the pathways and statements within each pathway are just examples of what you might possibly see a child doing, these are not selectable. When you flag an observation in an area, you are using it as something to refer back to when you come to do your analysis screens. These screens will be where you can say whether a child is working at a developmentally appropriate stage or not.

For example, two children may be doing exactly the same thing in a Reception class, but one may have just turned 4 and the other just turned 5. When you complete your assessment screen, it would be appropriate for the 4 year old to be assessed as where you would expect them to be at that point of the year, whereas the 5 year old might be assessed as not being quite where you would expect them to be in that area, at that point of the year. This will help you see the groups of children who require support in which areas. You can then use this information to plan your curriculum around those needs, providing extra support quickly for the children who need it.

A new approach

One of the main messages in the new guidance is to focus less on data and to concentrate more on knowing the child. Gather information so you can ensure that what you are planning is going to support those children who need it, and provide depth of learning for those children who are thriving in that area. It is absolutely fine for children to move in and out of being where you would expect them to be. The key is to ensure that you are meeting their specific needs. We hope that the new approach of using Flags on Tapestry to highlight and organise your observations will make it quicker and easier for you to gather information about a child and to focus the curriculum you provide for them.




Product Support Technician and Education Advisor

As a Reception teacher at a school in Littlehampton, Ben was one of Tapestry's early customers. He made good use of the helpful Product Support Team, sending them lots of emails. Eventually, he was invited to come and meet everyone at ‘Tapestry Towers’. He must have made a good impression because a few years later he found himself at his very own desk at the new Tapestry HQ. Ben now uses his experience of teaching 4 year olds to help him adjust to working in an office - he finds it comes in handy with his colleagues, as well as making him a knowledgeable Education Advisor! He also tweets (a lot!) and runs the Tapestry Support Group on Facebook.