At Callington Primary School, we believe that the Early Years are crucial for children to develop a secure foundation for future learning, holistically. We aim for children to develop a positive attitude to school and learning, which will stay with them as they move through Callington Primary School. We recognise that every child is unique, celebrating and welcoming differences within our school community. We value partnerships with parents and carers and know that this will support children to become independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential. We view all children as individual learners and believe that they can achieve to the fullest, in their own unique way. With this in mind, we aim to provide a broad, creative and meaningful curriculum brimming with first-hand experiences. We know that these experiences are crucial for igniting a child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning; setting the building blocks for their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. We aim to foster children’s awareness of and involvement in their local community through frequent experiences which give them a sense of belonging. At the forefront of our intentions is providing a curriculum which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing; ensuring that children are in the best place to learn. We know children need to develop a sense of belonging to our school community, ready to transition to year 1 in the following academic year. We aim for all children, including those disadvantaged, to have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners who make excellent progress from their varied starting points. Staff’s high expectations of children aim for the percentage of children who achieve a Good Level of Development to exceed national figures.
Development Matters teamed with the Statutory Early Years Framework have been used by staff to create topics which provide exposure to the variety of sequential, well balanced and meaningful experiences children need to achieve their Early Learning Goals, at the end of the Reception year. Our EYFS curriculum is underpinned by the teaching of fundamental skills, knowledge, concepts and values which children can securely build upon as they move through our school. Our curriculum design recognises children’s prior learning and experiences from previous settings and home whilst ensuring that clear progression of knowledge and skills happens from our own Nursery to Reception and then to year 1. Our topics are deliberately spaced to build upon what children already know and can do in order to master concepts. For example, the Nursery topic ‘Welcome to MY World’ where children explore what is important and relative to themselves is the perfect prerequisite to the Reception topic ‘Welcome to OUR world’ where children learn about other cultures, traditions or other people in comparison to themselves. High quality texts are used to enhance topics and texts are on display frequently, to ensure that seeing reading books becomes second nature to children. Vocabulary underpins all the topics we teach, to ensure every child is exposed to a wide range of vocabulary they can draw upon and revisit throughout their time at school. Staff use the Callington EYFS curriculum to provide an engrossing indoor and outdoor environment which supports curiosity, wonder and awe through learning. Provocations and enhanced provision allow children to embed and retrieve knowledge. Adults then work in the provision to extend and deepen the children’s knowledge and understanding through carefully selected questioning; allowing children to reason, justify, embed learning, adapt ideas and address misconceptions. Adults play alongside and observe children regularly and use their knowledge to plan for developmental or interest based next steps; tailoring the ideal amount of support and challenge. Practitioners observe and respond appropriately to children, informed by a knowledge of how children develop and learn. No ceiling is placed on any learner: focus groups are flexible and adapted according to emerging learning needs and the level of support that is needed to enable all children to access the right curriculum content for their learning. In all classrooms, there is an atmosphere of mutual respect within which children have security and confidence. Practitioners working in Foundation Stage make observations and assessments of each child’s achievements, interests and learning styles. This will be through snapshot observations, recording what children are saying and taking photographs. Practitioners use these observations and assessments to identify learning priorities and plan relevant and motivating learning experiences for each child and match their observations to the expectations of the early learning goals to determine where children are working at.
At the heart of our EYFS Curriculum at Callington Primary School, are the Characteristics of Effective Learning. We develop the key characteristics of ‘Playing and Exploring’, ‘Active Learning’ and ‘Thinking Critically’ in child friendly ways. Children are given opportunities to discuss their learning characteristics; showcasing their growing knowledge of how to learn. These give the children crucial skills to draw upon throughout their time at school and turn them into creative, independent and resilient learners.
Phonics is taught in Reception, beginning at Phase 2 and progressing to Phase 3 and Phase 4, with Phase 1 underpinning all aspects of teaching Phonics. Children quickly begin Phase 2 learning and staff follow a systematic and comprehensive scheme. We believe this provides all children with the greatest opportunity to complete Reception being able to read short sentences and write for a purpose. Children read to staff regularly and are sent home with books which allow them to consolidate the phonemes they are learning. All children are taught a progressive Early Maths curriculum which is accurately linked to the mastery of all skills and concepts they will need in year 1.
Staff and the EYFS leader work closely to track children’s progress and achievement; using data and practitioner knowledge to set aspirational targets for all children, including those with SEND. After baseline assessments, we measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year and swiftly put supportive interventions in place for those who need them. Reception and Nursery work closely with each other to ensure continuity and consistency between the foundation stage assessments, including through moderation activities. Our assessments have been externally moderated, and we liaise with our academy trust schools to further moderate judgements.
Positive relationships are built with parents/carers from the outset in a number of ways, including during Learning Journey Afternoons. A clear and thorough transition process is in place for all new starters and good relationships with feeder settings and carers allow for key information to be passed on effectively.
- In the past few years we have met or exceeded the percentage of children who have achieved Good Level of Development (expected in all ELGS), nationally. This demonstrates that holistically, our curriculum offer is well suited to the learning needs of the children in our setting. This also highlights that despite varied and diverse starting points, that the majority of children enter Year One with firm foundations for future learning.
- In 2018-2019 summative data indicated that the number of children exceeding the expected level of development was significantly higher than national percentages.
- Evidence in children’s learning journeys demonstrate achievement in all areas of the EYFS curriculum.
- In lesson observations, children use the language of learning and talk openly about their learning, using newly learnt vocabulary.
- All adults are increasingly more aware of the impact they are having on children’s learning through their own questioning and understanding of the requirements of the framework.
- The majority of children with SEND children make at least expected progress and reach their attainment targets; teachers have identified the area of need for children to move forward in any areas require.
- Last Year (2018-2019), 83% of children with SEND achieved a Good Level of Development.
- In all classrooms, children display high levels of wellbeing and involvement; demonstrating that the curriculum offer is well matched to their Mental Health and Wellbeing needs.
- It is in both LFS and UFS that the majority of children who are disadvantaged make expected progress.
- Parental involvement is continually improving with over 90% parents/carers attending our termly Learning Journey Afternoons.
- Children and parents/carers are fully prepared for their child’s transition into Reception; due to a comprehensive transition programme.
- Children feel included, secure and valued in all classrooms and this is evident in their ownership of their classrooms and contributions to their own Learning Journeys.