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Sir Francis Hill Community Primary School

'Learn, Achieve, Succeed'


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Our Early Years Statement

Our Early Years Statement

At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years, we work tirelessly to ensure children are happy in school and feel resilient, safe, and secure. We will provide quality learning experiences that spark the children’s interests and imagination. We build positive relationships with the child and their family and work together to help children fulfil their potential and prepare for the next step in their educational journey.

Our Early Years Intent, Implementation and Impact Statement

Our Early Years Intent – Why do we teach what we teach?

At Sir Francis Hill Primary School in both our Nursery and Reception settings, we follow the seven key features of effective practice in Early Years outlined in Develop Matters (July 2021). We want to achieve the best for every child ensuring all children have an equal chance of success through high-quality early education. We deliver high-quality care which is consistent and committed to the children’s positive experiences focusing on them at the centre of all decisions and thinking. What we want children to learn (the curriculum) is ambitious and carefully selected and sequenced to help children build their learning over time. Depth in early learning is much more important than covering lots of things in a superficial way. The curriculum and its planning promotes the vital development of children’s language and is also flexible and driven by their interests. We are committed to helping children learn (pedagogy), make progress in their learning with the right help. Effective pedagogy is a mix of different approaches. Children learn through play, by adults modelling, by observing each other, and through guided learning and direct teaching. Practitioners carefully organise enabling environments for high-quality play including making time and space available for children to invent their own play. A well-planned learning environment, indoors and outside, is an important aspect of pedagogy. We check what children have learnt (assessment) noticing what children can do and what they know. Effective assessment requires practitioners to understand child development and should not involve lots of data, evidence, or time away from the children. We help children develop self-regulation and executive function, therefore supporting children to hold information, focus their attention, think flexibly, and inhibit impulsive behaviour. children to develop the skills of concentration, planning, monitoring, and adapting what they are doing. As well as develop patience and the skill of bouncing back when things get difficult. We aim to actively develop positive relationships and partnerships with parents/carers rooted in respect that supports children to thrive in the early years. We listen to parents / carers and share information about what the children are doing in school, their progress and support for home learning all helping to build good home / school links. We value the help parents / carers give their children at home and note the importance of encouraging families to chat, play and read with their children. 


At Sir Francis Hill Primary School, we recognise that all children are unique, and we celebrate differences within our school community. Therefore, our Early Years curriculum embraces the interests of the children, ensuring their voice and ideas are heard. We are passionate about children leading and engrossing themselves in their learning and strive to embed a language of learning based on the EYFS characteristics of effective teaching and learning.  


We support every child to reach their fullest potential, and this is reflected in our school motto Learn, Achieve, Succeed’.  


Four guiding principles shape practice at Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years which are in line with the school’s vision, aims and values. These are:  

  • Every child is a Unique Child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.  
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through Positive Relationships
  • Children learn and develop well in Enabling Environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents / carers. 
  • Children Learn and Develop in different ways and at different rates.  

Our Early Years Implementation - How do we teach what we teach?

At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years our curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (July 2023). This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning that we must cover in our curriculum. Through our knowledge of each child, working and playing alongside the children and observations, the EYFS team plans exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following the EYFS themes where we take advantage of cross curricular links to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised.  


The EYFS Framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum and opportunities for communication, sustained shared thinking and physical challenge to build on existing skills, considering the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning. 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 Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas. These include Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design


Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. In Nursery and Reception, the timetable for our day is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching in Phonics, English and Maths throughout the week. In Reception, these sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff in a small group with their peers or one to one to explore their understanding and practise and develop their knowledge. The school follows a systematic phonics programme (Read, Write Inc), using a wide range of resources and strategies to support this. In Reception every child has access to a phonics session every day with intervention opportunities for those who find this area of learning more difficult. In Nursery, when we feel the children are ready, we introduce the children to the school’s phonics programme, but we also support them with developing early phonics skills including focusing on listening and attention. We use the phonics sessions and other opportunities to also develop children’s expertise in letter formation and to support speech and language skills.  


Children in Early Years learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both indoors and in our outdoor areas. Our outdoor areas are open all year round and in all challenging weather conditions. In reception, our outside courtyard area focuses on independent play where children have opportunities to engage in child-led learning with their peers focusing on the development of creativity, self-regulation, and teamwork. This type of play has a wealth of opportunities for the children to develop their personal and social skills and reinforce language and communication skills. In nursery and reception our other outside areas provide the children with opportunities for physical development and the children’s skills of gross motor skills including running, climbing, building, and riding bikes. None of our outdoor provision is solely focused on one area of learning and we aim that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside. The children make their own decisions about where they learn best, and the adults play alongside the children guiding the learning. 


In Reception we provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This is provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals (GLD). 


The Early Years team builds their knowledge of the children as individuals and their achievement in learning throughout the year. Evidence and examples of children’s learning is gathered through adult directed learning activities, observations of children’s play and self-initiated learning time, photos and videos which are shared with parents/carers regularly using the Seesaw online learning journal system. This means that parents/carers can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school. Parents/carers are very active and love to use Seesaw to record the milestones children make at home during the year. In reception we also use Seesaw to review the children’s learning as a group and focus discussion on what the children can do, celebrating achievement in school and at home. 


By the end of a child’s reception year and the end of EYFS, we provide opportunities for children to increase their independence and resilience to ensure they are well prepared for the move to Year 1. We also ensure that the pedagogy in Year 1 reflects the independent learning skills children have gained in reception. The transition out of EYFS into Key Stage 1 is an important milestone and staff will work together across the key stages to ensure child, parents/carers and teachers are supported and prepared for the move into Year 1. 


The Early Years team at Sir Francis Hill work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the same skills whilst they are in school. It is a positive place to be where learning, achievement and successes are celebrated, and every child feels valued and respected.

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

At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years, we ensure that our curriculum meets the diverse needs of our children, including those who are English as an Additional Language learners, born in the summer, disadvantaged pupils, and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We dedicate time to assess and evaluate how children are learning, enabling us to design appropriate learning opportunities that support their development. This is achieved through interactions with the children, reviewing their work, observing their learning experiences, and analysing the progress of both groups and individuals. 


The Early Years staff use ongoing informal assessments to pinpoint starting points and identify next steps, subsequently planning experiences that facilitate the children’s progress. This information guides the creation of learning experiences and next steps, so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively. We also conduct formal assessments, such as assessing phonics phoneme knowledge, to monitor progress, inform planning, and address the needs of the children. 


Starting from their individual starting points, children make remarkable strides academically and socially, nurturing a strong self-concept that readies them for the transition into Key Stage 1. While some children in our Early Years begin with lower-than-expected starting points for their age, their time in our setting results in good (or better) progress, so we meet the national expectation for a good level of development (GLD) by year-end. 


Children will demonstrate high levels engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, therefore enabling them to access a wider range of areas of learning and facilitating communication with both adults and peers. Children will cultivate skills across all areas of the curriculum, including Literacy, Mathematics, and Physical Development, employing these skills in different ways. A broader understanding of the world around them will be formed, aiding children in interactions with others and linking newfound knowledge to fresh learning. Children will also refine their Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning, adeptly applying their knowledge to diverse scenarios. They will make links and explain their ideas and understanding, drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing. Ultimately, children will embody effective learners, thoroughly prepared for the next phase of their education as they transition from Early Years to Year One. 


We believe with high standards, enriched play-based experiences, and a rich diet of balanced learning experiences a child can thrive. Alongside a focus on developing the child is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children with good foundations for future learning. Children at the end of Early Years at Sir Francis Hill Primary School will have developed essential knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning. The children will be well rounded, happy, inquisitive, and successful learners.  

Updated: August 2023