Specification for software suppliers and local authorities preparing for the early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) 2021 data return.


EYFSP return 2021: technical specification

Ref: DfE-00220-2020PDF, 329KB, 27 pages


In 2021, the early years foundation stage (EYFS) profile is not mandatory. Practitioners should use their best endeavours to complete it and provide the information to year 1 teachers and parents, if this is possible. Schools that complete the EYFS profile will not be subject to statutory external moderation.

There is no requirement to submit data to the local authority or to confirm whether you have completed it to the Department for Education.

This specification is for:

  • suppliers developing software for use in management information systems
  • local authorities collecting and submitting data for the 2021 EYFSP data return

It explains:

  • the business rationale for the return
  • changes for the 2021 return
  • methods for importing data into local authority information systems
  • how to prepare and submit the data in XML format
  • the validation rules that Department for Education (DfE) will apply to the data

You should read this guide alongside the common basic data set (CBDS). This defines common data items that we use in our data collections.

More guidance on submitting data to complete the EYFSP return is available.

Published 22 December 2020
Last updated 25 January 2021 + show all updates

  1. Added information about the early years foundation stage profile as it is no longer mandatory in 2021.

  2. First published.