St Charles’ Catholic Primary School
The Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to 5 years. (EYFS_framework March_2021)
At St Charles’ Catholic Primary School, our Early Years curriculum is designed to provide all children with the opportunities and experiences that they need to develop good foundations, independence and resilience to be able to succeed as learners and in life.
Our EYFS curriculum is strategically sequenced in order to build on previous skills and knowledge from each year group and enable children to smoothly transition into Key Stage 1. We aim to foster the characteristics of effective learning through long periods of uninterrupted, continuous provision and high-quality adult interactions to support and extend learning through sustained, shared thinking.
Our well-resourced and stimulating environment is carefully planned in line with our curriculum offer to ensure children have an abundance of opportunities to practise, apply and consolidate their knowledge and skills holistically across all seven areas of learning, including cross-curricular links.
We recognise that oracy not only improves academic outcomes, but is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment. Oracy develops children’s thinking and understanding, which in turn promotes self-confidence, resilience and empathy which support the child’s well-being.
Our curriculum is based upon high-quality texts that develop a love of reading and expose children to ambitious vocabulary. The texts we choose are the stimulus for our curriculum. We endeavour to follow children’s interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning both in and outside of school. Children are also encouraged to take an active part in their learning and seek to challenge themselves independently.
We consider the challenging backgrounds that many of our pupils come from and the recent impact of COVID-19 on the development of children’s basic skills. As a result, our curriculum offer focusses heavily on the prime areas: Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development; and Physical Development throughout Nursery and Reception, particularly in the Autumn term. Once these foundations to learning are embedded, the specific areas can be focussed on (Literacy, Maths, Understanding the World & Expressive Arts and Design).
We work in partnership with parents, carers and other professionals to provide the best possible start at St Charles’ Catholic Primary School, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points.
By the end of the Reception year, our intent is to ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
At St. Charles’, all pupils’ basic needs are met through the provision of a safe, stimulating and secure environment, and staff regularly reinforce messages about how to stay safe and healthy, and to ensure that their friends do too.
A strategically sequenced curriculum has been developed to ensure that all children are offered the opportunity to build on previous knowledge throughout their entire time within the Foundation Stage and are adequately prepared for the expectations of Key Stage 1. The Early Years lead has worked with staff, considering the demographics of our cohorts, to ensure the curriculum is accessible to all and children have many opportunities to revisit skills and consolidate knowledge.
Early years staff meet on a weekly basis to discuss the provision and learning opportunities. This ensures children are accessing a carefully planned environment and that staff are well-equipped to support children to achieve the weekly learning objectives. Additionally, resources in provision are evaluated each half-term and changed to ensure they continue to offer challenge and that they reflect the curriculum throughout the year. To ensure children access the provision effectively, staff are timetabled into all areas throughout the day including following children’s interests during self-chosen play, adult directed small group tasks, targeted interventions and 1:1 support where necessary.
EYFS staff have high academic ambitions for all children. Where children have been identified as having particular needs, such as those with SEND, we liaise with the school SENDCO, outside agencies and parents to ensure our curriculum is adapted to meet their needs. Those who are at the early stages of learning English as an additional language (EAL) are able to participate equally.
In Early Years we use the ‘Wellcomm’ language screening tool and intervention. This is recommended by the Speech and Language service to support children who are identified as below age related expectations for their communication and language development, and who are therefore at risk of experiencing difficulty with reading and writing. The assessment identifies children in need of mild and significant support and offers recommended interventions to ensure fast, targeted progress. Children are reassessed regularly to ensure impact and to identify new targets.
Children in Nursery gather for whole class inputs at the beginning of the morning session for a phonics input and the end of a session for a topic input (maths/literacy based), the afternoon sessions consist of a PSED focus at the beginning of the session and share stories/sing songs at the end of the session before home time. Children in Reception gather for a phonics input at the beginning of the day, a literacy input before lunch, a maths input after lunch and attend assembly/share stories/ sing songs at the end of the day before home time. Phonics, literacy and maths inputs are followed by small focused group work supported by teachers and teaching assistants. This means staff can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly, and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning. In between these inputs all EYFS children access continuous provision for long periods of time to ensure the learning through play is uninterrupted and they can fully exploit all opportunities for learning supported by staff who are skilled at extending children’s learning through effective questioning, sustained shared thinking and building vocabulary.
We follow the ‘Read Write Inc.’ (RWI) programme to ensure consistency across the school. In Nursery, children access phase 1 phonics (pre-RWI) which focusses on identifying and discriminating between sounds as well as creating sounds themselves. Once children are secure in this phase they move onto segmenting and blending orally through ‘Fred games’ as part of the RWI programme which prepares pupils to access the full RWI programme at phase 2 when they are ready. In Reception, children begin the RWI programme at phase 2 while consolidating phase 1 skills during literacy inputs and in provision. Children are assessed on entry and then each half term throughout the programme to ensure they are placed into the appropriate group that matched their phonic knowledge. Children who are not making adequate progress are identified for 1:1 tutoring in Spring and Summer terms. More information about Read Write Inc. and phonics can be found on our phonics page.
Reading opportunities are also offered through daily phonics sessions using the RWI. programme. Children take home an appropriately matched, phonetically decodable reading book when they have reached the necessary phonics group as well as a love of reading book to share for enjoyment with family with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.
Teaching and learning is centred around high-quality texts. Texts selected for literacy inputs are interwoven throughout the provision offering children context within their learning and opportunities to embed knowledge holistically across all areas of learning. Additionally, children are read to as a whole class every day and reading opportunities are available across the entire provision, which staff support children to engage with.
We access White Rose to deliver maths in Early Years, incorporating some resources from NCETM mastering number. Our maths topics are also carefully sequenced to ensure progression as well as matched, where possibly, to our class texts to enable children to apply their learning across the wider curriculum. Children are provided with the knowledge and skills to become masters of mathematics.
In EYFS we endeavour to ensure children complete the Foundation stage with a breadth of experiences that they can refer back to throughout their school life and beyond. We plan at least one visit off site and invite one visitor into school each term to ensure all children develop their cultural capital This is one of the key ingredients a child will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work in the future.
As the year progresses, children are encouraged to take ownership of their learning through independent challenges set by teachers. When children complete their challenge, they are rewarded with a ‘dojo point’ in line with our reward system.
Assessments are relevant and purposeful, leading to improved outcomes for children. Children are assessed in the first half term of starting school to identify a baseline of attainment which informs the planning and provision for the following term. Children are then regularly assessed on a termly basis across all areas of learning to ensure pupil progress. In addition, teachers complete a Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) for each child. This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.
All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paper work. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing/making. Some observations are uploaded using Class Dojo and shared with the supporting parents and carers and examples kept in a floor book.
Parents are involved and engaged in supporting their children’s education. We invite families to termly stay and play sessions linked to curriculum areas as dictated by the needs of the cohort. These involve short, informal training for parents on a particular topic delivered by the class teacher, followed by some available activities children and parents are encouraged to access in the provision. Home learning is sent out on a weekly basis which gives families an overview of the teaching and learning expectations for that week. RWI videos are also sent out using class dojo to offer additional training on phonics at home for parents.
Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the EYFS leader ensure staff develop good subject knowledge. The EYFS leader ensures staff receive Continuous Professional Development (CPD) specific to Early Years to develop their practice. Staff also have regular phonics training and coaching (both online and in person with our Reading Leader or our RWI consultant) so they are able to teach the programme consistently and effectively.
By the end of the Foundation Stage, the vast majority of children read accurately and are starting to develop fluency in their reading and develop an understanding of the books they read. Their vocabulary and understanding of language is good and most children achieve the early learning goals; particularly in the prime areas, literacy and mathematics; representing high achievement from low starting points. Children enjoy their learning and the majority participate eagerly and enthusiastically. They are beginning to manage their own feelings and behaviour, and understand how these have an impact on others.
In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where teacher judges whether each child in Reception has met each of the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs). They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’
As a result of the creative and stimulating environment we provide, by the end of foundation stage children flourish and develop into confident, motivated and independent learners who understand right from wrong and are ready for the next stage of their education.
Impact is also evident through our successful transitions into Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELGs link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of subjects, both core and foundation, children leave the EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, artists and geographers.
What Learning Looks Like…
Our Outdoor Area…
A guide to your child’s learning and development in the EYFS- What to Expect in the Early Years
Follow us on @StCharlesRecep1
NEW INTAKE INFORMATION – Welcome to St Charles’