Early Years Foundation Stage
Intent (what we are aiming to achieve):
The intention of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is to give all children the best possible start and to provide a safe, happy and stimulating environment within which children can thrive.
At Blackhorse, we aim for all children to leave their Reception Year as champions. This means that they will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be effective communicators, confident readers, curious mathematicians and ambitious writers. The children are provided a broad range of experiences and opportunities in order to practise and refine their skills within an environment that is deliberately designed to reflect their needs.
Implementation (our focus this year):
This year at Blackhorse our focus is to develop the quality of co-play and play-based learning in order to create a language rich and shared learning environment. Successful co-play will result in increased opportunities for shared engagement between adults and children whereby they can learn, play and problem solve alongside each other.
Children starting school in September are offered a part-time timetable to enable them to develop a sense of safety and secureness in their new environment. Blackhorse Primary School is highly committed to supporting children to feel happy at school and to help them develop a sense of “this is where I belong” when coming to school. Reception Staff invest a lot of time during these early weeks building positive relationships with the children.
We appreciate that children will settle at different rates and will persevere until all children are in a place where they are able to learn. Whether this takes a couple of days or the duration of Term 1, we are determined to do everything we can to help children settle into their new school.
During these early weeks, the skills and knowledge that the children bring with them will be assessed (see below) but we are careful to do this as sensitively as possible, usually through games and general interactions. For some children who may be finding the transition more difficult, aspects of the baseline assessment may be completed at a later time when the child feels more secure and familiar with the adults at school.
At Blackhorse Primary School we follow the EYFS curriculum, as it is a statutory requirement, but while doing this we ensure that the children’s interest and curiosity is peaked and that children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities, resources and … in order to create memorable learning experiences.
We endeavour for all pupils to love learning and to be excited by new topics, stories or activities and to have the skills to seek out their own experiences, based on their interests, and to share them with others.
We record the children’s learning and skills across the curriculum in a variety of ways, which usually includes one or more of the following ways:
- Observations (see heading below)
- Formal books, e.g. Phonics, Literacy, Adult-led
- Reading Log
- Summative assessment
- Teacher knowledge
Observations, Planning & Assessment
At Blackhorse Primary School we use an online learning journal called ‘Tapestry’ to capture the children’s developing knowledge and skills throughout the year. Tapestry allows staff to record the children’s ideas and take photographs or videos of children in order to build up a picture of what a child can do and what they are yet to learn.
Staff can then assess the observations collected against the development statements from the EYFS Handbook and use this to inform planning. Staff are able to use these assessments, as well as the data analysis tools on Tapestry, to identify learning gaps and next steps. Data analysis will ascertain whether gaps in knowledge and understanding are at an individual, group and whole cohort level and use this to inform continuous provision and teacher led sessions.
Staff work together to plan engaging lessons that span the width of the curriculum that provide appropriate challenge for all learners. When planning, the needs and interests of the children are taken into account and the Reception staff are highly reflective and adapt current practice in order to promote progress and challenge, ensuring that continuous provision accurately reflects the needs of all children, not just the majority.
Upon entry to Reception, staff complete a baseline assessment during September (Term 1) to ascertain the skills and prior knowledge that the children coming in to school already have. Three further formal data entry points take place throughout the rest of the Reception Year.
While staff do continually monitor the progress children make, e.g. during a lesson or guided activity, the formal data entry points allow staff to see exactly who is on or off track to reach the ‘expected’ level by the end of the year and therefore achieve a GLD. Staff can then use this to implement interventions, if appropriate, or direct targeted adult support towards children who are not on track or are not making at least good progress.
Working with Parents
At Blackhorse Primary School we believe that it is important to work with parents. This is especially true in Reception as this could be a parent’s first opportunity to experience what school is all about for their child.
We strive to engage all parents in their child’s learning and in Reception, this is done in a variety of ways:
- Termly Parent Workshops, e.g. Reading, Phonics, Maths
- Reading Log
- Parents’ Evening
- Tapestry (electronic learning journal)
- Communication Books (where appropriate)
- Verbally communication, e.g. drop off, pick up, telephone conversation
- Weekly newsletters
- Mid-year reports
We understand that it can be an unsettling time when children move from one setting or class to another and appreciate that these transitions may be difficult for parents and children alike. With this in mind, we endeavour to make your child’s transitions, both into and out of Reception, as smooth as possible.
When a child is transitioning into Reception from a Nursery or Pre-school setting, we offer the following support and opportunities to make the process as easy as possible:
- School staff visits to nurseries and pre-schools
- Telephone calls to key workers
- Induction visits
- Parent-teacher interviews
- Part-time timetable during September to support children with settling in to school
- Supported transitions for those with additional needs, which may include extra time or individual visits
- Children might be shown the location of their peg or and drawer in the classroom prior to starting school
When a child is transitioning from Reception into Year 1, we offer the following support and opportunities to make the process as easy as possible:
- Reception provision adapts in the summer terms to show children what Year 1 is like, e.g. adults direct some learning tasks but do not lead the group
- TAs swap for one week during the afternoons
- Class Teachers swap for some story time sessions
- Moving up morning (children spend the morning in their new class)
- Additional visits for children who may find the transition more challenging
For children who may find the transition more difficult, e.g. SEND pupils, these extra supportive steps may also take place:
- Transition books
- Social Stories
- Additional visits, with accompanying adults where appropriate, for SEND pupils
- Increased opportunities for informal “meets”, conversations and visits with the new teacher and to the classroom
- Children might be shown the location of their peg or seat in the classroom
The impact will be that Reception pupils at Blackhorse Primary school move into Year 1 as well prepared individuals who have the skills they need to access the Key Stage 1 curriculum as a result of their secure foundation year.
We will see that the number of children achieving GLD is higher than in previous years and is higher than the National Average.
In addition, school data will show that all children have made at least good progress and that pupils with lower starting points are catching up with their peers; some children will have closed the attainment gap entirely.
The full impact will be reviewed in June 2020 after the EYFD Profile data has been submitted to the Local Authority.