close open in new window Early Years QM Cycle
The QM Cycle

Early Years

The Quality Mark for schools was developed in 1996, and updated in 2007, to provide a framework that would promote, support and celebrate the improvement of literacy, language and mathematics, sometimes also referred to as ‘basic’ or ‘functional’ skills.

The Quality Mark is an inclusive award and this version of the guidance will help all types and sizes of early years providers achieve accreditation. It was developed in 2008, following a national pilot funded by the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) and undertaken with local authority advisers and early years practitioners1 representing maintained, private, voluntary and independent providers, to make the award achievable by settings catering for babies, toddlers and young children2 from birth up to age 5.

It provides a framework for self-evaluation and continuous improvement of the skills, particularly in communication, language and mathematical development,3 of young children4 through activities suitable for the stage of development they have reached.

1 Any adult who works with children in a setting.
2 ‘Young children’ will be used as a generic term to cover babies and toddlers as well as those up to age 5.
3 In this guidance the terms ‘communication, language and mathematical development’ are used very broadly. They will also cover those aspects of the early learning goals in the ‘Communication, Language and Literacy’ and ‘Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy’ programmes.
4 The Childcare Act 2006 defines a child as being a ‘young child’ from birth until the end of August following their fifth birthday.