EYFS observations: Famly vs. using multiple systems

The power of observations, communication, and admin, all in one place.
A manager nest to an enlarged tablet with EYFS observations on screen
January 15, 2022
Reading time:
a light bulb with the letter p inside it

a black and white image of two hearts

famly icon - piggy bank

a black and white image of two houses



a black and white image of a bunny and a bottle


a black and white heart icon

With Famly since

Famly provides a better way to record your EYFS observations.

But why?

In essence, it’s because it’s an all in-one system. That means that your finances, your admin, your daily nursery management and your observations are all in one place.

So what, you might think. Well, we’re here to tell you the difference that could make, and why you are better choosing a system like Famly.

What do we mean by ‘using multiple systems’?

Before we get going, it makes sense to explain exactly what we mean by ‘using multiple systems’.

It could mean many things, but essentially we’re talking about everything Famly isn’t. That is, using software, paper, spreadsheets and other programs, rather than one system that does it all. It could mean:

  • Using a piece of software that has unconnected ‘modules’ – a bunch of different programs that perform different functions and don’t work well together.
  • Using one piece of software for observations, one for admin, one for parent communication and so on.
  • Traditional ‘paper’ for observations and learning journals. In reality, this still probably means using spreadsheets, emails and other more traditional software.
  • Some combination of the lot.

We realise that getting rid of these separate systems isn’t always easy. Many people find a way that ‘works for me’, and often you’re hamstrung by inherited systems or various ideas and templates from local providers.

This is particularly important for EYFS observations, where many of you have found a way that works for you, and are concerned about changing it because it might be more inefficient, provide lower quality observations, or waste time as you train up your staff.

But there’s a reason why this is not good enough for your setting. In fact, we’ve managed to find 7…

“EYFS observations shouldn’t take too much time out of the practitioner’s day because the focus should be on the children and what they are doing. The Famly app makes it nice and easy and you can get back to the real fun of what’s happening in the nursery.”
- Katie Thompson, Nursery Manager, Coconut Day Nursery.

1. Is it easy to use?

Whatever system you’re using, it needs to be simple to use. Wasting hours on a complicated system is not good enough, even if you feel like it’s the best way for you to do things. If it’s not easy to use, then it can’t really save you time or provide any value to your setting.

  • Works just like the kind of programs and sites you use every day.
  • Is built alongside nursery managers with their workflow in mind.
  • Has a simple, beautiful interface that is easy to train staff on.
  • Allows you to upload EYFS observations in seconds.
Multiple systems…
  • Are often clunky and old-fashioned, taking months to get your head around.
  • Involve complicated workarounds that are hard to explain to anyone else.
  • Require you to constantly switch between them, causing confusion and a lot of hard work.
  • Will take you longer to complete each observation.
In a sentence

You might be used to your way of doing things, but you will be able to pick up Famly from day one.

2. Does it take long to train staff?

When it comes to uploading or creating EYFS observations, you need a system that staff can get to grips with quickly. They’re not there to spend their time on paperwork, and every moment you can save means more time with the children.

  • Will be a familiar design to many of your staff.
  • Comes with 100s of training guides to help your staff get to grips with it.
  • Offers on-demand support for any questions you have.
Multiple systems…
  • Require you to train staff on more than one complicated system.
  • Could mean lots of cutting and sticking or time spent buried in iPads.
  • Frustrate your staff with unnecessary processes and hard work.
  • Distract your staff from what they should be focused on…the children!
In a sentence

Staff pick up Famly with ease and we’re here to support you the minute they have any questions.

3. Are there errors and mistakes?

Mistakes in the way you record information can be costly to any childcare provider. Lost EYFS observations or even whole learning journals are devastating, and important attendance or financial numbers can easily be lost in the cracks when you’ve got multiple points of data entry.

  • Keeps all of your data secure and safe, with regular backups to ensure nothing will ever get lost.
  • Only makes you enter something once, using that for multiple records and reports.
  • Works in real time, meaning everyone is seeing the most recent updates.
Multiple systems…
  • Are not as secure.
  • Mean you have to update multiple records, making it easy to miss something out.
  • Don’t always work together in harmony, meaning things get lost in between.
  • Can have different people updating different things at different times, creating mistake-ridden reports.
In a sentence

If you want secure and correct records, trust Famly over your disconnected systems.

Type of data Famly Multiple systems
Photo EYFS observations
Video EYFS observations ?
Single data entry -
Speedier observations -
Curriculum reference material
Automatic cohort tracking ?
One system for parents -
Observation reviews ?
Parent observations ?
Optional ‘What’s next?’
A complete setting overview -
Automatic Learning Journals
Information in one place -

4. Are you doing double (or triple) the work?

Saving time is one of the many reasons people take their EYFS observations online. And what wastes more time than anything else? Entering the same stuff more than once – something you can guarantee you’ll be doing with multiple systems.

  • Automatically uploads your observations to each child’s learning journal, and the data to your cohort tracking too.
  • Uses the same child profiles and plans for registers, child development, invoicing, occupancy and more.
  • Lets parents add details themselves, reducing your workload in some areas completely.
Multiple systems…
  • Require manual data entry every time you want a new report.
  • Need you to routinely collect your observations together for progress tracking.
In a sentence

Famly will save you time every day by only ever making you enter numbers, figures, and EYFS observations once.

5. How involved are your parents?

Parent partnerships are essential if you want to provide the right environment for every single child in your setting. Having them interested and involved in their children’s learning and observations is a key goal that you need to consider when deciding on your systems.

  • Only requires parents to sign up for one app, which sends them updates straight to their pockets through the parent portal.
  • Makes invoicing easy for parents by keeping everything to do with the nursery in one place.
  • Allows parents to submit parent observations, giving you a fuller picture of each child’s development.
  • Lets parents collaborate to save you time, updating information on children and invoicing themselves.
  • Instant messaging and the parent news feed helps you to keep those relationships secure.
Multiple systems…
  • Require parents to sign on to two or more services, resulting in confusion and low engagement.
  • Are often not very relevant to today’s parents, and can result in unread notes and forgotten messages.
  • Reduce communication by making it harder and more confusing to get in touch.
In a sentence

Famly makes parent partnerships easy by keeping everything in one place and engaging parents in a way that makes sense to them.

“What’s really helpful is that parents can be involved instantly. As opposed to when we’ve used paper and post-it notes to log observations in the past, now as soon as we write an observation the parents are involved.”
- Hannah McGoohan, Director of Education, N is for Nursery.

6. Do you know where to find everything?

Emails. Spreadsheets. Folders. Memory sticks. Where exactly is that key piece of information you need? The time you waste and the hard work required just searching for things every day is worth getting rid of your separate systems alone.

  • Has dedicated places for document storage, messaging, reports and more.
  • Keeps your data backed-up so no EYFS observations get lost.
  • Gives you simple overviews so that you always know what’s going on your setting.
Multiple systems…
  • Leave you with all of your stuff in a thousand different places, making it hard to find anything.
  • Increase the chance of something important getting lost
  • Don’t give you the complete, truthful overview that you need to ensure a sustainable setting.
In a sentence

Famly saves you time by keeping everything in one place.

7. What is the quality of the observations?

What use are all of these benefits if the quality of the observations isn’t good enough? At the end of the day, any system is only as good as the observations that go into it, but Famly has a few features that make it that bit easier to ensure quality EYFS observations.

  • Makes adding observations simple for practitioners, no matter how technophobic they are.
  • Gives you the option to review observations before they go out to parents.
  • Comes with options to view reference material, add what's next, and photos or videos, however you like to do your observations.
Multiple systems…
  • Often result in EYFS observations that don’t get read by parents.
  • Can be a confusing and time-consuming process for your practitioners, taking them away from what really matters.
In a sentence

Famly gives you the flexibility to do your observations the way you like and the tools to ensure they are of the highest quality.

The big ideas

download pdf
graphical user interface, text, application
Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

Picture of a Guidance document
UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.

Free trial

Try before you buy

Try every Famly feature, see what you like, and invite your staff. No commitment, no credit cards. Just a 2-week free trial.

Start free trial