Teaching and Learning

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) makes a crucial contribution to children’s early development and learning. We provide children with a rich variety of teaching and learning experiences that are appropriate to their needs. EYFS is about developing key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentrating, persistence, independence and learning to work and co-operate with others. The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.

The seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS are organised into the Prime Areas and Specific Areas:

Prime Areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language Development
  • Physical Development

Specific Areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

We recognise the value of play as the principle and most effective method of learning. Play allows for discovery, creativity and problem solving. It is purposeful, absorbing, open-ended and enables children to communicate with each other. It is the vehicle by which we gain access to the curriculum. The outdoor environment is a very special part of the EYFS curriculum; as such it is carefully planned for and available each day. Learning in the EYFS follows the needs, experiences and interests of individual children. Learning is mainly through active, play based activities indoors and outdoors all the year round.

Observation and assessment is integral to EYFS practice and staff will spend time observing children to identify their needs, interests, progress and next steps. Staff use a range of systems including photographs, post-it notes and samples of work to record children’s learning and development.

As the year progresses more emphasis is placed on developing and applying literacy and maths skills so that children are ready to learn in Key Stage 1. At the end of the Reception year children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) and a best fit judgement is made as to whether children are ‘emerging’, ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ against the ELGs.

Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7 years) and 2 (ages 7-11 years)

The core curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2 comprises:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Religious Education (RE)

Children also study the subjects below as part of the National Curriculum. These are called foundation subjects:

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology (DT)
  • History
  • Geography
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Modern Foreign Language (KS2 - French)

Children are also taught Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education, including sex and relationships education

Most of the Foundation Subjects are taught through theme work which combines a number of subjects. For example, a topic on animals may cover themes in science, geography and art and be used as a subject matter for writing and literacy work. The teachers plan the theme work with the children so that the learning matches the interests of the children. We also send home information about our theme work to parents and welcome comments and contributions from home to support the work that the children do.

In Year 4 the children go swimming and the aim is to ensure that all children learn to swim before they leave the school. The school uses the pools at John Whitgift Academy. There is no cost for parents.

Other Curriculum Activities and Clubs

The school runs a wide range of activities which enrich the curriculum:

  • All classes regularly go out of school on educational trips. These trips are usually linked to the topic or theme that is being studied at the time. For example if a class is working on a topic on animals they may visit a Farm.
  • We also often invite visitors to the school to support our theme work. These include, for example, specialist teachers, theatre groups or story tellers. Occasionally the school will ask parents to make a voluntary contribution towards the costs.
  • The school provides a range of after school clubs for Key Stage 1 and 2 children. These include football, netball and skipping. The school also hosts clubs run by outside agencies such as Football in the Community, gymnastics, Clifton Dance, Yoga Bugs and Martial Arts. Some clubs have a charge to cover the associated costs.