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Grangetown Primary

Early years foundation stage

Early Years

In the Early Years Foundation Stage children learn best when they experience learning first hand, through meaningful interactions with others, through physical activity and through play. Our Early Years practice is based on on-going observation and assessment of the children and their interests. We believe the best outcomes for children’s learning occur from either child-initiated play, actively supported by adults or focused learning, with adults guiding the learning through playful, rich and experiential activities. 

Intent, Implementation, Impact

Intent- Why do we teach what we teach?

At Grangetown Primary School we place great value on the development of children as individuals and on providing them with the skills and knowledge needed for them to progress well. Our aim in the EYFS is to enable the children to become confident, motivated and happy learners, developing the skills and attitudes necessary for their own successful future learning.

Our curriculum is based around providing first hand learning experiences, through meaningful interactions with others, through physical activity and through play. We provide the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. We always consider the individual needs, interests, and development of each child. We use this information to plan challenging and enjoyable experiences for each child in all areas of their learning and development through the Characteristics of Effective Learning – Play and Exploring, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. 

Many of our pupils arrive well below national expectations for their age and a high proportion come from disadvantaged backgrounds and with complex needs. We have to teach them how to listen, speak and meet the high expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. We prioritise personal, social and emotional development and communication and language in our two year old provision (Little Butterflies) and in Nursery.  Our enabling environment and our nurturing and skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move into Reception we continue to focus on these areas as well as early reading, writing and mathematical skills. This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas.  We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through our indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips and visits. We promote a forest school approach, where learning outdoors is weaved into our daily activities and learning. 

Implementation- How to we teach what we teach?

Teaching in EYFS can take on many forms and it covers the many different ways that adults within the setting help children to learn. We understand that the interactions between the adults and children are vital during planned and child-initiated play and activities. Practitioners interact with children though modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring, questioning, encouraging and investigating and providing challenges. Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities.  In Reception the timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in phonics, maths and writing. These sessions are followed by small group work/ 1:1 sessions so that the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide verbal feedback.

 Children are provided with 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.

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and systematic phonics programme, Monster Phonics. Every child in Reception has access to a phonics session for 20-30 minutes every day. This is gradually increased to 1 hour a day by the end of Reception (including small group & 1:1 sessions). Daily interventions are carried out to support children who are finding phonics more difficult. A love of reading is at the heart of our curriculum with highly engaging books being part of out topics/themes. We develop a love of reading through high quality and positive shared interactions with adults. Each age range has a specific set of ’12 core books’ which are read daily. We use the handwriting scheme ‘letter join’ and we teach pre cursive and then cursive handwriting as appropriate.

We follow the Maths Mastery approach (White Rose) in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language.  Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete objects which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Reception pupils develop these key skills during daily maths meetings where they explore number, calculation, shape and measure. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts. 

Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, NELI & BLAST, which are language interventions used in Nursery and Reception. We use ‘immediate interventions’ in maths to address gaps in learning. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children. 

Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes coaching and feedback from the phase leader so that teachers develop good subject knowledge and are effectively supported.  We tailor our staff CPD to be early years specific and are focused on moderating outcomes across the phase so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning. 

The EYFS team collect evidence of children’s learning through work completed in their workbook (Reception), observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents daily using the Tapestry online system. This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school. Parents are very active and love to use Tapestry to follow their child’s progress.

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

Baseline: Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journey’s to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. During the first half term in Nursery or Reception, all staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress. The following baseline assessments are also carried out.

The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment): 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.

NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention): NELI is an evidence-based oral language intervention for children who show weakness in their oral language skills and who are therefore at risk of experiencing difficulty with reading. The assessment informs us if the child is at expected for their age or requires intervention from trained NELI practitioners.

Ongoing Observation: 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 Tapestry.

Assessment: Phonic assessments are carried out using the ‘Monster Phonics’ tracking and assessment system. This is carried out every half term to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress. Our aim is for children to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ where possible. Assessments are completed six times per year and shared with parents during termly parent- teacher consulations. In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where teacher judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELG’s. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’ Impact is also evident through our successful transitions into Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s 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 understanding in the prime and specific areas. 

EYFS Policy

Our policy document for EYFS is here. 

Reading and Phonics 

Reading underpins all other aspects of learning - it is of paramount importance and therefore is a large part of our curriculum in EYFS.

We aim to develop pupils' reading through systematic, synthetic phonics teaching (using the scheme Monster Phonics), 1:1 reading, home sharing books and shared reading so that children will learn to read widely, fluently, frequently and with good understanding and pleasure.

We involve parents in improving their child’s reading through parent workshops, home-school diaries and phonetically progressive books. We model reading with expression, and we promote enjoyment and understanding, through daily shared reading of our core books and access to books in our inviting reading areas. We ensure that all children have the opportunity to have a high quality text read to them every day in school - this is through the school's ‘core books’ which adults have access to in every classroom.

Here are some top tips for reading with your child from the experienced teacher and fabulous storyteller Neil Griffiths



Little Butterflies and Nursery

Throughout the Nursery, our focus is around developing children’s language and communication skills through the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. Early matching, categorising and sorting activities within the Nursery environment are used to develop visual discrimination skills needed for early reading. Books are shared daily in small groups, print has a high profile in the environment and our core books link to each half termly topic. Books are shared with the children daily and children are motivated to look at and talk about story and information books in their child initiated play by utilising books in all areas of the provision. In Nursery children take home a ‘bedtime book challenge’ book to share at home. This is one of our 12 core books and is changed weekly. Children are introduced to systematic, synthetic phonics through phase 1 (using Letters and Sounds). This phase concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. We are awaiting a phase 1 set of lesson/ activities from Monster Phonics that can implement in Nursery, until that point we will continue to use phase 1 Letters and Sounds to support our planning. Oral blending and segmenting is focused on during the end of the Summer Term in Nursery, when children have had plenty of opportunity to develop their sound discrimination skills.


As children progress into Reception, an emphasis of phonics teaching will support children’s understanding that letters represent sounds in spoken words which will support their decoding of the printed word. ‘Monster Phonics’ is used to plan our daily phonics sessions. In Autumn 1 children consolidate phase 1 and then begin phase 2. By the end of the Year Reception children will be confident to read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words. Children work in two small groups which depend on their phonetic ability and work through the phases progressively at a differentiated rate. These groupings are based upon regular assessments that assess the children’s phonetic understanding at their current phase. We use the Monster Phonics half termly assessments to guide our planning and interventions. Daily interventions are carried out to support children who may not have grasped a skill/ sound. This is a 10-15 minute very small group activity.

An interest in books is developed by sharing songs, stories and rhymes, fostering opportunities to talk and re-enact stories or follow children’s interests through information books. Books are shared with the children daily (using our core books) and children are motivated to look at and talk about story and information books in their child initiated play by utilising books in all areas of the provision. We use strategies like ‘big talk’, ‘talk for writing’ and ‘helicopter stories’ to support reading, language development and comprehension.

Each child takes home two reading books every week to share at home. We have the expectation that children are reading at least 3 times a week (at home/ school). The children also take home ‘sound books’ so that they can practise the phonemes alongside the reading sessions.

Throughout child initiated learning time children have the opportunity to explore books of their own interest in quiet and inviting book corners.

Long Term Planning: EYFS

Our Long Term Planning in EYFS is informed by the following documents:

These documents have been used to help design our long term planning in our two year old provision (Little Butterflies) Nursery and Reception. Each document plans the objectives we want to cover each half term using the non-statutory guidance from Birth to 5 Matters (see above). It also sets out our end of year key knowledge and skills in Nursery & Reception and the minimum expectations for that year group.  The topics are used to engage and promote the children's interests and needs. 

Long term planning for P.E. in Reception can be found here

Long term planning for Music in Reception can be found here

Long term planning for Science in Reception can be found here

What does ... look like in Early Years? 

What does History look like in Early Years can be found here 

What does Geography look like in Early Years can be found here 

What does Art and Design & Design Technology can be found here

Curriculum Maps 

Medium Term Planning: EYFS

We use the documents above to support the more detailed medium term planning. Each half-term we plan most of our activities around a new topic/theme and link these to the prime and specific areas. Core texts and songs are used to engage the children as well as 'hooks' along the way. These plans are adapted to meet the needs of the children in our setting using observations as a starting point. The medium term plan provides a structure and direction to the weekly short term plans, with ongoing assessments throughout the half term. In Reception we use P.E. Planning (www.peplanning.org.uk) to inform our weekly P.E. lessons, letter join (www.letterjoin.co.uk) for our handwriting sessions and in Nursery & Reception we use Jigsaw (www.jigsawpshe.com) to plan our weekly PSHE lessons. 
Current Medium Term Planning for Little Butterflies, Nursery and Reception can be viewed in the next 3 drop down menus.
Last year's Medium Term Planning can be viewed here
Medium term planning for Reading can be found here
Medium term planning for Writing can be found here
Medium term planning for ICT can be found here

Little Butterflies - current half-termly planning

 Nursery - current half-termly planning

 Reception - current half-termly planning

Maths- White Rose & Mastering Number 

In Reception we use White Rose Maths and the Mastering Number Programme (Great North Maths Hub & NCETM) to inform our planning and teaching for each half term. This is used throughout the school and provides continuity and progression in each year group. The teaching and learning is set out in each phase and is taught throughout the year. Phase 1-8 is set out below. 

This year (September 2022) we are taking part in the Mastering Number Programme. This programme provides planning, online resources, ongoing CPD and peer to peer support.

Long term planning for Maths in Reception can be found here