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The Early Years Foundation Stage at Anthony Roper Primary School


Intent – Why do we teach what we teach?

At Anthony Roper Primary School, our aim is to create a learning environment and build relationships that support, enhance and invite a child’s curiosity, confidence and individual competency to flourish, regardless of background, circumstances, or needs. It is our intent that children who enter our EYFS begin their lifelong learning journey by developing physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst also embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning.

We want all of our children to be resilient, capable, confident learners who have accessed a broad and meaningful curriculum which equips them with the knowledge and skills to continue their learning in Year 1 and beyond.

Implementation – How do we teach what we teach?

At Anthony Roper we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This is made up of four overriding principles which our Early Year’s education is based upon:

  • Unique Child – Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
  • Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
  • Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The learning experiences within our Early Years are linked to the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. These include:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Communication and Language – involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical Development – involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy – the early teaching of literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics – the early teaching of mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and describing shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the World – this involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design – this involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Pupils at Anthony Roper learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, Maths and Phonics with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher 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.   

Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development, including understanding the world and expressive art and design, as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. In order to scaffold the learning of each child, a practitioner engages in the children’s play, offering targeted questioning, ideas and enhancements whilst modelling rich vocabulary, all of which aid the development and progress of learning.

EYFS staff regularly reflect and alter planning to ensure provision enhancements and activities remain relevant and successful. During these sessions, the teaching team reflect on three questions:

“What do our focus individuals need to learn or are curious about?"

"What embedded learning have we observed in this area?"  

"What can be changed to exploit the learning and interests of the children/individuals in this area?” 

In this way, we ensure that the provision leads to depth of learning across the curriculum.

Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional interventions and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on to children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, small group interventions focusing on play skills, fine motor development, Read Write Inc phonics, one to one tutoring.  We also work closely with our Local Authority Speech and Language Team who support us to run intervention groups to improve clarity of speech sounds for children that need it. We also have our Outreach team who visit our school to offer advice and support to ensure all of our children reach their true potential.

Impact – How do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?

Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. This is achieved through quality interactions with children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals.

A baseline assessment is carried out within the first few weeks of children starting school in Reception. In additional to this, we also carry out our own maths and phonics assessments to find each child’s starting point. This also allows us to monitor and track their progress throughout the year.  We assess children using the supporting document ‘Development Matters’. We track the children progress at regular intervals to ensure children are ‘on track’ and if children are found not to be, they are immediately supported within targeted interventions.

Half termly phonics assessments ensure that children are grouped by ‘stage not age’ and termly maths assessments allow quick intervention for those not making expected progress and suitable levels of challenge to ensure consistent progression.

Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. During their time in our EYFS, children make rapid progress so that we aim to meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year.  Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year One.  We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the Early Years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.