At St Francis, the aim is to provide the very best possible start to every child’s education and enable them to fulfil their potential.
A stimulating, secure environment is provided, where children are encouraged to develop key learning skills. A broad-
There are seven areas of learning and development. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, for building their capacity to learn and a firm foundation to the start of their academic career. Also to form relationships and thrive. These three areas are known as the prime areas:
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied are:
Reading is key to your child making good over-
• Understanding of the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
Early Years Foundation stage staff (Class Teachers, Early Years Practitioners and Learning Support Assisstants) plan and work closely together. They regularly observe and assess learning to inform the next steps in teaching.
Before children start in Reception, a nursery setting or home visit is offered to new parents to our school, to be able to talk informally with the Early Years Foundation Stage staff. The open morning gives each child the chance to explore the opportunities and activities in the Reception Class before starting school.
At St Francis, we recognise the importance of giving our children the best possible start to their education by planning and implementing teaching and learning opportunities that supports them in reaching their full potential. In order for us to achieve this, we aim to:
- Work in partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.
- Understand and follow children’s interests and provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support learning, consolidate and deepen knowledge and ensure children meet their next steps.
- Create a well-structured, safe and stimulating learning environment both indoors and outdoors which supports all areas of learning and development.
- Encourage children to develop self-confidence and decision-making skills.
- Promote enjoyment for learning through providing purposeful, fun and challenging play opportunities.
- Encourage children to develop their sense of curiosity through hands on learning, exploration and discussion.
- Prepare children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure children make good progress from their starting points.
- Support effective transition into the next stage of their education into Year One.
At St Francis we recognise that children learn most effectively when they are healthy, safe, and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults who care for them. We provide a setting that encompasses a safe and stimulating environment where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence that helps them to achieve their fullest potential from their various starting points.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. All areas are planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum.
The children learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas in the EYFS curriculum:
Prime areas of learning
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language
Specific areas of learning
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
These seven areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. Planning for this curriculum is designed to be flexible so that a child’s unique needs and interests are supported. We encourage active learning to ensure the children are motivated and interested. A great emphasis is placed on encouraging children to talk and communicate with both adults and their peers. We take time to get to know children’s interests and their likes to enable us to effectively support their learning. Our creative school curriculum is based around a different book each half term. These story books excite and engage the children and provide a love for reading.
Daily whole class and small group time activities are carefully planned for and delivered. These focus on different areas of the EYFS curriculum and allow children to learn in an exciting way and develop their next steps in learning. There are also a range of stimulating and engaging activities which the children can access independently within the classroom environment, allowing children to apply their learning within different contexts and a variety of opportunities for child-initiated play are provided.
We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place. These are:
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
- Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
- Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Mathematics – Maths is taught daily through singing, exposure and exploration of number, shape and measures. It often encapsulates real life scenarios for example, cookery (weights and measures), shopping (money role play) and general day to day teacher daily activities and routines.
Teaching of phonics – We use Read Write Inc (RWI) as our synthetic phonics scheme to teach children to read quickly and easily. Synthetic phonics – is simply the ability to convert letters or groups of letters into sounds that are blended into words.
Play – A huge amount of the Early Years curriculum implementation is through Play. It is one of the main ways in which children learn and develop, it is an integral part of a child’s Early Years Foundation Stage and supports their learning journey. They develop language skills, emotions, creativity and social skills. Play helps to nurture imagination and give a child a sense of adventure. Through this, they can learn essential skills such as problem solving, working with others, sharing and much more. In order to ensure that children progress in all areas of learning we provide a balance of child initiated and adult led activities. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
Assessment – We strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good from their varied starting points and that children reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be near National expectations.
The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is a national statutory assessment that is administered at the beginning of the reception year. This will form the baseline for primary progress measures, allowing schools to receive credit for the progress their pupils make throughout their time in primary school. The baseline assessment will result in a score that forms part of each child’s baseline profile. By having a good understanding of the child’s abilities when they start school, class teachers are able to measure each child’s progress and plan for next steps in learning. The baseline assessment is face-to-face with a mixture of tasks and observational checklists.
Through the year members of the teaching team make regular observations of the children’s learning to ensure their next steps are met. These are collected in each child’s Learning Journey and online using Tapestry. We regularly assess where the children are using the Development Matters and then ensure our planning, adult interaction and learning environment support children to reach their next steps.
Summative assessment compares children’s attainment to age related expectations using month bands in the Development Matters. This is tracked to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND or who are disadvantaged.
Assessment judgements are moderated both in school and externally with local schools.
Feedback is given on children’s learning. Formative assessment within every lesson helps teachers to identify the children who need more support to achieve the intended outcome, and who is ready for greater stretch and challenge through planned questioning or additional activities.
Transition – Staff support transition into Key Stage 1. Preparing children for Year 1 with visits to their new class, meeting the teacher and ensuring the environments are similar at the end of Reception and the start of Year 1.
We keep parents informed and we meet regularly with parents and carers to ensure children’s transition into school and through the EYFS is happy and allows them to reach their potential with the support needed. This includes Stay and Play mornings, parent workshops, assemblies to celebrate successes, engaging with parents, home visits, and parent consultations.
With the successful implementation of both an enriched and balanced curriculum and a well-structured, safe, active and challenging learning environment, children will be able to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that enables them to be successful learners.
Children will be motivated and actively engaged in learning and their enjoyment of this learning will be apparent to all. All children will have experienced a curriculum that provides, exciting and enriching learning experiences and opportunities for children to learn through educational visits and hands on experiences. Children will be successful learners and fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Foundation Stage to Year One.
At the end of Foundation Stage, children will be well rounded, happy, inquisitive and successful learners.
In terms of statutory data, we aim that:
- The percentage of pupils working at ARE at the end of Reception, will be at least in line with or better than national averages for GLD
- The percentage of pupils working at Greater Depth at the end of Reception will be at least in line with or better than national averages for GLD
The majority of our children read accurately and are starting to develop fluency in their reading. Their vocabulary and understanding of language is good and many children achieve the early learning goals, representing high achievement from low starting points.