The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, introduced in September 2012) is the period of education from birth to 5 years. During this stage children work towards the “Early Learning Goals”.
The Early Years Foundation Stage guidance divides learning and development into three prime and four specific areas. It also includes characteristics of effective learning.
· Communication and language
· Physical development
· Personal, social and emotional development
· Literacy Development
· Mathematical Development
· Understanding of the world
· Expressive arts and design
The majority of pupils will achieve these goals by the end of the Foundation Stage and will be at the ‘expected’ level. Some children will make further progress and will be ‘exceeding’ the Early Learning Goal. Some pupils may still need to work towards some of the goals at the end of Reception and will be ‘emerging’.
Throughout the Foundation Stage, pupils experience an exciting curriculum both indoors and outdoors, designed to meet the needs of young children. This is fun, creative and play-based, challenging each child to achieve their own individual potential. Children are assessed continually throughout the year and their progress is shared with parents/carers on a termly basis.
National Curriculum, Key Stage 1
In Year One and Two class teachers plan and deliver a theme based curriculum in accordance with the 2014 National Curriculum. This cross-curricular approach to learning encompasses all the National Curriculum subjects at the appropriate levels for individual children. Each theme will either have science or humanities as its main thread. The teaching of English and Mathematics are given priority on the timetable, and the skills and basic concepts are carried through all subjects. In addition to this Mathematics concepts are taught in isolation if they do not fit with the theme.
History, Geography, Music, Art, Technology and Computing are taught in a thematic context. The children also study Physical Education, Religious Education and Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship.
Teachers plan co-operatively to ensure structure and progression is in place across the school, and that the appropriate programmes of study are covered and attainment targets achieved. The children’s learning is continually assessed in order to plan for progression through the next steps of learning.
The staff have written and developed policies for each subject, following closely the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets. Continuous assessment of children’s progress is built into the planning and development of the work, and evidence of such is kept and updated. The governors work with the staff to produce and update all policy and curriculum documents, meeting regularly for this purpose.
Our English curriculum is based on the national curriculum for Key Stage 1 and Early Years Foundation Stage for Reception pupils. Teachers endeavour to offer opportunities to develop the skills of speaking and listening, reading, and writing for a variety of different purposes and audiences across all areas of the curriculum. We recognise the need to make our lessons active, fun and meaningful to meet high expectations. Importance is placed on the correct use of language, with teachers striving to maintain high standards of written work in all subjects.
Inter-active whiteboards are an integral part of literacy teaching throughout the school and the children make good use of I.C.T. in lessons by using literacy programs, CDs and digital cameras. All areas of literacy are inter-related. The skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening reinforce and support each other, and with this in mind literacy units are taught in a structure that will develop the relationship between all three.
Speaking and Listening
Good communication skills are vital in life, so we aim to give all children the ability to communicate confidently. Children are encouraged to express ideas and feelings and describe and report accurately. They are encouraged to ask open questions to extend their learning. Pupils take part in a variety of listening games, drama, presentation and discussion across all areas of the curriculum. Story telling skills are promoted by the development of oral storytelling through traditional and popular tales. We promote listening and debate skills through our School Council.
We place a great emphasis on reading and the school aims to make reading meaningful by introducing children to a communication friendly environment – using notices, messages, posters and explanations around the school. Classrooms have imaginative and inviting reading areas, offering a variety of books and magazines. Our library has recently been re-modelled to improve the facilities available to the pupils.
Pupils become successful readers by learning to use a range of strategies to decipher words and understand the meaning of fiction and non fiction text. Above all we want children to enjoy reading and develop a love of books. Although we have a structured core scheme – “The Oxford Reading Tree” - we ensure that a wide variety of texts, from numerous genres are read. Teachers also find opportunities to read across all areas of the curriculum.
Literacy units comprise of modelled, shared, guided and independent reading sessions. We recognise the impact that the teaching of phonics can play in reading and spelling and use a synthetic phonics approach based on “Letters and Sounds”, in line with the new curriculum.
Phonics and reading schemes
We place a great emphasis on reading and the school aims to make reading meaningful by introducing children to a communication friendly environment – using notices, messages, posters and explanations around the school. Pupils become successful readers by learning to use a range of strategies to decipher words and understand the meaning of fiction and non fiction text. Above all we want children to enjoy reading and develop a love of books. Although we have a structured core scheme – “The Oxford Reading Tree” - we ensure that a wide variety of texts, from numerous genres are read. Teachers also find opportunities to read in areas of the curriculum other than literacy.
Literacy units comprise of modelled, shared, guided and independent reading sessions. We recognise the impact that the teaching of phonics can play in reading and spelling and use a synthetic phonics approach based on 'Letters and Sounds'.
Click on the link below to hear how each letter of the alphabet is produced as a sound.
As soon as they begin school, pupils are encouraged to write through a range of stimuli, role play, puppets, games and drama. We place great importance on making writing enjoyable and strive, wherever possible, to give children a real audience in order to give a purpose to their compositions. As they progress through the school pupils will begin to understand that their writing will be read by other people and therefore needs to be accurate, legible and organised in an appropriate way. Correct letter formation is important. A cursive hand writing scheme is taught throughout Year 1 and 2. Writing is modelled, shared, guided and carried out independently. The children are taught to write in a variety of different styles including imaginative writing (poetry and stories), recounts, explanations, letters and instructions. The pupils are encouraged to plan their work carefully and emphasis is put on the use of interesting and appropriate vocabulary.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
The national curriculum has a more focussed emphasis on the correct use of grammar in both written and spoken language. We aim for the children to use correct punctuation and accurate spelling within their writing in addition to creativity. Children will be taught to use the correct terminology e.g. noun, adjective.
Although set out as distinct programmes of study in the national curriculum, we strive to enable our children to make rich connections across mathematical ideas. The principal focus of our teaching is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numerals, words and the four operations using practical resources. Pupils develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary.
In the context of measures pupils compare quantities such as length, mass, capacity, time and money. Opportunities are provided for the application of knowledge in new contexts to involve children in higher order thinking skills, such as reasoning and conjecturing. Problem solving provides the opportunity for our children to communicate their results and findings to others. We believe that perseverance, flexibility and resilience are qualities that enable our children to be successful mathematicians. Above all else we want our children to enjoy the challenge of mathematics.
We provide the children with a balance between working scientifically and learning scientific facts. Pupils are given opportunities to experience and observe the natural and humanly-constructed world around them with access to our outdoor classrooms and visits off the school site. They learn the knowledge, skills and understanding related to the area of science explored, which centres around a Learning Challenge. This learning is progressive and continuous throughout the school, starting with exploration in the early years. Our teaching starts with finding out what the children already know which helps to make the teaching of science exciting and interesting, as well as fun.
We encourage children to ask questions about what they observe and help them to develop their understanding of scientific ideas, allowing chances to form hypotheses, investigate and draw conclusions. Opportunities are given to develop the use of simple scientific language and to talk about what they have found out through scientific enquiry, observation and recording.
Most of the scientific learning is done through first-hand practical experiences supplemented by secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos. The school is well equipped with scientific apparatus including digital microscopes and cameras. Links are made with other subjects to make a relevant and interesting curriculum.
Pupils are given the opportunity to work on textile and construction projects as well as food technology. Work is threaded through the ‘Learning Challenges’, allowing teachers to develop cross curricular links and provide the children with the chance to practise their literacy and numeracy skills within D.T. The pupils are taught how to plan and construct, devise and design using both structured apparatus and kits and non structured materials. Emphasis is placed on teaching specific practical skills which are then applied to problem solving. To this end the process is as important as the product and children are encouraged to evaluate and improve upon their designs. Importance is put on the safe use of tools and equipment. We aim to nurture children who are innovative and confident in their work.
We have a set of 16 laptops on a mobile trolley which can be used in any classroom for whole class teaching, or for small groups or individual pupils to work on. They operate as part of a network in School and each pupil has their own folder within this network where they can store their work. We also have networked PCs within each classroom which are also linked to an interactive whiteboard and data projector for whole class teaching. Children are encouraged to develop their basic skills and a level of independence when navigating around and using a range of programmes across all aspects of the curriculum. We have an e-safety policy which ensures that children are taught how to use the internet safely. Internet access is closely monitored and we have the appropriate filters and inappropriate usage reporting systems in place. You will receive a copy of our e-safety charter which outlines the rules we expect pupils to follow when using the internet. We strongly encourage you to apply these rules at home too.
History and geography are taught across the school through cross curricular learning challenges. Children will gain knowledge and skills to help them compare their own lives with those of people in the past and with those living in different parts of the world. We aim to give every child the opportunity to learn through a range of challenging and stimulating activities, including role play, drama and exploration of our local area. The children will learn about the location of human and physical features of the world and develop the skills of observing, recording and researching. They will learn about historical events and explore ways to find about the past using a range of artefacts, books and educational visits.
Geography and history is covered in the Foundation Stage through their work on knowledge and understanding of the world.
In music we aim to provide all children with activities that will enable them to develop the skills so that they may participate with confidence and real enjoyment. They are provided with opportunities to sing, play classroom percussion instruments, and create their own computer aided musical compositions. They develop an appreciation through listening to a wide range of different styles of music. Children in Year 2 are invited to join an after-school song club ’Bawnmore Nightingales’ where they take part in a variety of musical activities and are often invited to perform at different events in and out of school during the year.
The development of physical skills promotes confidence and co-ordination. Our P.E. programme covers gymnastics, athletics and games skills both indoors and outside. The children also take part in traditional and creative dance. This year we have also been able to offer our pupils the opportunity to work with the Football Development Service and a multi-skills coach. Children in Year 1 and 2 have taken part in tri-golf and new age kurling. We aim to promote physical exercise and an understanding of why this is beneficial to health and learning.
Art is an essential element in the development of young children. It provides a means of communicating ideas and emotions and is an important and exciting way of developing co-ordination. Work is threaded through the ‘Learning Challenges’, allowing teachers to use art as a stimulus for other subjects, such as science and literacy, in order to develop links across subject areas. Children are introduced to a wide range of media and techniques, including the use of I.C.T. Their work is displayed in school to acknowledge its value. Pupils study the work of well-known artists to develop an appreciation of art and design. We value creativity and aim to foster an interest and enjoyment of the subject.
Religious Education is provided for all children and is part of the broad balanced curriculum, which is integral to the ethos of the school. It is taught through a Learning Challenge approach using key questions.
The teaching is based on Christian principles and values, encouraging each child to have respect for themselves, each other and the environment around them. Our policy reflects the traditions and beliefs of a multicultural society within a Christian culture. It will include common themes of world religions, which help children to become aware of the hopes, fears and aspirations we all share. It is in accordance with Warwickshire’s Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and encompasses all aspects of equal opportunities.
Our assemblies are of a broadly Christian character but not distinctive of any one denomination. We have members of three local churches visiting School each half term to lead an assembly. Parents may exercise their right to withdraw their child from R.E. and collective worship after consultation with the Headteacher.