15 March 2023

"The Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Early Years provision gives settings and schools a comprehensive external evaluation of their practice and provision."


 The Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Early Years provision gives settings and schools a comprehensive external evaluation of their practice and provision. In the first of our guest blogs, Hayley Yendell, co-headteacher at Roots Federation, tells us what the EEEYP experience is like through the eyes of a school leader.


Girl and adult playing with click-clac car toys


Describe your school: size, staff numbers and set up.

As the heads of a federation we have been part of not one, but four EEEYPS in the Autumn term of 2022! When we booked them, we did wonder if four was a good idea, but it really was such a worthwhile experience. Let us tell you more…

‘Roots Federation’ is a federation of three maintained Nursery Schools (including one daycare setting.) These are in various locations in Hertfordshire; Muriel Green Nursery in St Albans, Heath Lane Nursery School in Hemel Hempstead and Oxhey Nursery School in Oxhey. The Federation was formed in April 2022 and we now serve over 300 children from the ages of 3 months to 5 years old. Each school has a senior teacher in charge of the operational running of the day with the two heads in charge of the strategic running of all three. All school leaders were keen to identify the priorities for each school from which to build upon so we invested in the four EEEYPs: one in all three schools and one in the daycare in Muriel Green

What made you book the EEEYP service for your setting? What were you hoping to get out of it?

In the face of the current bleak financial picture in education the financial investment in these evaluations was considerable. However, the aim of Roots is to achieve aligned autonomy; a shared ambition across the federation to achieve excellent early years education with the flexibility to keep aspects that are unique to each school and the community it serves. With a staff team over 100 across the three schools with various experience and skill sets it was essential to get an external evaluation of the quality of education. For us, this was the key to identifying priorities across the federation as well as those unique to each school.


Adult with Early Years children, playing with a bowl


Can you give a description of your experience of the EEEYP in your setting, what day looks like, what your team felt about it etc?

There really is no preparation for an EEEYP; it is all about seeing the school/setting in action and observing usual practice. We explained to our staff teams that we wanted them to do what they usually do with no unusual practice. The staff were understandably nervous but eager to share what they were doing well and understand how to improve further.  

The team arrived at 8am and from that point until the end of the day they worked tirelessly to see as much as they could. There were regular checking in points, with us as leaders, to give incidental feedback and opportunities to share successes with the HFL Early Years team onsite.

During the day the team covered a wide range of scrutiny activities; parents were invited to discuss their thoughts with the team, leaders discussed provision and a few documents had been reviewed prior to arriving. The team were in regular conversation with staff and children and were in the sessions for most of the day; child initiated learning, tidy up time, lunchtime….whatever goes on in a day they will see!

What was most useful about having the EEEYP?

The EEEYP process was incredibly thorough and robust, and the team left no stone unturned. Tenacious scrutiny and uncompromising feedback at the end of the evaluation ensured that school leaders, including governors, had confidence in the strengths and areas for development for each school.

What have you developed since having the EEEYP in your setting?

We were active partners in the whole process; shared observations offered professional development for senior leaders. Since the evaluations our senior staff have developed greater confidence in conducting learning walks. Alongside this immediate impact we have been able to build on the strengths in all schools sharing expertise from school to school and implementing a network of teams.

The verbal feedback and the written report clearly outlined priority areas and gave clear recommendations on how to achieve these priorities. These provided a clear starting point for discussions with each school team and these discussions formed the basis for each school-based action plan. Senior teachers now have far greater clarity on the key actions needed to drive improvements in their own school.

At a Federation level we were able to look at themes across our three schools and these were the springboard for booking shared training, introducing targeted coaching and informing the termly performance appraisal target for the curriculum team.  

Would you recommend other settings have the EEEYP? Why?

The evaluations do require resilience; be prepared for honest feedback and challenge. However, If you want the very best for the children in your school/setting and want external validation of your self-assessment then we would highly recommend investing in an EEEYP.


Young person holding a toddler in one hand and showing the toddler a CD with her other hand


If you are interested in booking an EEEYP or if you would like to find out more about the process, please contact us on 01438 544464 or email

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