EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE POLICY

Policy Details
Date created01/09/2019
Date reviewed11/2021
Next review date11/2022
Date approved11/2021
Approved by the Academy Governing Council

Introduction

“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is

important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.”

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

Department for Education 2014

Aims

At Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff, we aim to provide the highest quality care and education by giving our children a progressive and stimulating curriculum that will encourage each child to develop the skills, understanding and attitudes to reach their full potential. We create a safe and happy environment with engaging and challenging learning experiences, to enable our children to become confident and independent. 

To help children achieve their potential we will:

  • Give each child a happy, positive and exciting start to their school life;
  • Offer a wide range of new and exciting experiences for the children to explore, experiment and consolidate;
  • Provide an engaging, stimulating environment to motivate and support children and to help them to learn effectively;
  • Enable each child to develop socially, physically, intellectually and emotionally;
  • Encourage children to develop independence within a secure and friendly atmosphere;
  • Support children in building relationships through the development of social skills such as cooperation and sharing;
  • Help children recognise their own strengths and achievements through experiencing success and developing the confidence to work towards personal goals.
  • Work in partnership with parents and carers to understand and meet the needs of every child. 

The Curriculum

The Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework which stipulates what we teach. The characteristics of effective learning, which include: playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically are woven through our curriculum. The curriculum also requires the children to access learning both indoors and outdoors.

The statutory framework includes seven areas of learning and development. The first three areas are important to allow the children to show curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, develop further self-esteem and form relationships that will allow them to thrive. These areas are called ‘Prime areas’. Prime areas are:

Communication and Language – Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking;

Physical Development – Moving and Handling and Self Care;

Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Making Relationships, Managing Feelings and Behaviour and Self-confidence and Self-awareness.

The other four areas of learning are referred to as ‘Specific areas’. These areas help to develop essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society. Specific areas are:

Literacy – Reading and Writing

Mathematics – Number and Shape, Space and Measure;

Understanding the World – People and Communities, The World and Technology;

Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using Media and Materials and Being Imaginative.

Each area of learning is implemented through carefully planned, purposeful play in which practitioners have considered the individual needs, interests and stages of development of each child.

In planning and guiding the children’s activities all practitioners observe and reflect on the different ways that the children learn.

These are formally known as the characteristics of effective learning and are described using the following three key characteristics:

Playing and exploring – how the child investigates and experiences things, or their ‘have a

go’ attitude;

Active learning – how the child concentrates and can keep on trying if they encounter

difficulties, and enjoy their own achievements;

Creating and thinking critically – how the child develops their own ideas, makes links between their ideas, and develops strategies for doing things.

We have well established safety procedures in place to ensure that all of our children are safe and happy at school. On entry to Nursery, all children are assigned to key worker groups so that the children can develop good relationships with an adult, ensuring that their pastoral and developmental needs are met to a very high standard. 

Staff pupil ratios within nursery are at least 1:13 at least 1:30 in reception classes. 
In both Nursery and Reception, we have an overarching topic that the children are immersed in. Through careful planning, we build on the ideas and interests of the children within each topic, responding to them in different ways to enable us to support each child’s learning and development. Opportunities for the children to access learning both indoors and outdoors are provided daily. Language enrichment is central to learning across our curriculum and we have a strong focus on teaching children the basic skills. The children learn and develop their social skills, communication and language skills and their gross and fine motor skills across the Foundation stage but there is a particular focus on this within the Nursery of our school. This continues into Reception but there is a greater balance with the other areas of learning. The children also have daily Literacy, Maths and Phonics sessions, as well as opportunities to follow their interests within each topic. Each Literacy unit is planned around a high-quality text. We also place a very high importance on story time within our curriculum and both Nursery and Reception will engage with high quality story time, a minimum of once daily. Each class have a set of high-quality core story books to enjoy within story times which are different to their key Literacy texts. They will read these books regularly throughout the year, so that they have a bank of familiar stories and begin to develop a love of reading.

Assessment in EYFS

On-going formative assessment is at the heart of effective early years practice.  Every child, on entry to the foundation stage, will be assessed across all areas of the EYFS framework, to form a baseline assessment of children. Practitioners observe children as they act and interact in their play. They observe a range of everyday activities, planned activities and use information from parents about what their child does at home. This assessment will allow practitioners to plan according to the children’s next steps, from the start of their induction to the school. Children’s learning will be assessed continually to ensure that future planning reflects the needs of all learners. 

Each child has an EYFS Profile which the practitioners gather evidence towards. This enables practitioners to assess where the children are and establish the next steps of their learning journey. The evidence is gathered through observations, photographs, videos, work produced by the children and discussions with parents. A summative record of children’s progress across the Foundation Stage curriculum is completed half termly by the teachers and Early Years Practitioners. This provides an ongoing record of children’s progress from entry into Nursery, until the end of Reception. It is the role of all Foundation Staff to contribute to written weekly formative assessments and observations, summative assessments, target setting and tracking.

As a school we use the non- statutory guidance “Development Matters in the Early Years” (2012) as a guide to making best-fit judgements about whether a child is showing typical development for their age, may be at risk of delay or is exceeding the expected development for their age.

When carrying out assessments in the Foundation Stage it is our aim to:

  • Establish children’s levels of ability on entry to Nursery/Reception against “Development Matters in the Early Years” (2012) in order to provide experiences which build on what the children already know and can do.
  • Monitor progress in order to ensure that all children make progress and that any specific needs are identified and can be met as soon as possible, e.g. through support for SEN or provision through More-Able and Talented provision. 
  • Provide differentiated learning experiences on a weekly basis that are based on our knowledge of what the children have already learnt or need to develop.
  • Provide a summative record of what children can do in order to inform parents, monitor progress and provide information to following year groups to ensure continuity.
  • Collect data in order to inform class /group/individual target setting.
  • Collect data for inclusion on the school tracking system in order to monitor a child’s progress throughout the school.

Admissions

The school adheres to the local authority’s admissions policy. 

The induction process 

Our main induction for Nursery children is in September. Our induction process is as follows:

  • Our practitioners visit children and families in their home setting;
  • Foundation practitioners meet with and/or contact pre-school practitioners (if applicable);
  • Parents are invited to an open evening to find out information about our setting;
  • Parents are invited to an open morning to see the current nursery class in action;
  • Parents and children are invited to Stay and Play sessions so that parents and children can visit and play in their new classroom.

When children join the school, a staggered induction will be used to allow children to adjust to their new surroundings and feel confident to leave their parents. This will take place over the first two weeks of the school year. Every child’s induction will be individualised to meet their needs and the arrangements for each child’s induction will be shared with parents at the home visits and during other transition events.  

The children moving from Nursery to Reception will spend a number of transition sessions familiarising themselves with practitioners and their new environment before the end of the summer term. 

Children who move from Reception to Year 1, also spend a number of transition sessions familiarising themselves with practitioners and their new environment before the end of the summer term. This is managed carefully and tailored to the children’s needs. 

Inclusion and equal opportunities 

At Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff, we value all of our children, irrespective of their ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, background, ability or gender. We plan our curriculum to meet the needs of the individual child and support them at their own pace. We cater for a wide range of needs and take into account the diverse needs of both boys and girls, of children with disabilities, of children from all social and cultural backgrounds, of children from different ethnic groups, and of those from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

We set realistic and challenging expectations tailored to the needs of each child, enabling most children to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of Reception. Where children show potential signs of having additional needs, we strongly believe that early identification is crucial in enabling us to give the child the support that they need to access the curriculum. The school SENDCo will provide additional information and advice to parents and arrange external intervention and support as necessary. (See SEND Policy) 

Across the EYFS, we have a clear focus on the development of early language. Where children are not developing language in line with their age group expectations, we provide early speech and language support through a bespoke program in liaison with a trained Speech and Language therapist. 

Attendance 

The school regularly liaises with the local authority in relation to attendance within our early years’ provision. Evidence shows that attending high-quality early education has a lasting impact on social and behavioural outcomes and regular attendance within the foundation stage can set good practice for statutory school.

At Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff, all Nursery aged children are eligible for a 15 hour Nursery placement, but, we are committed to funding 30 hours of provision for all pupils. This will be funded by the school where parents are not eligible to claim 30 hours of education. 

However, where a child’s attendance does not meet the requirements in the school’s attendance policy (such as reoccurring unauthorised absence and lengthy absences), parents will be invited to meetings with the Education Welfare Officer to discuss the child’s attendance. Where attendance continues to be poor, the local authority may remove funding for this place, and the school will remove your child’s place and allocate it to another child on the waiting list. Therefore, it is important that your child’s attendance remains above 96%.

Parents/ home links

Parents are a child’s first educators and have a prime teaching role with their children. We see their contribution to the assessment and target setting process as invaluable. Parents are involved through:

  • An Open Day so that parents can have a tour of the school and the Foundation Stage classrooms.
  • Pre nursery visits where parents can share information about their child with staff
  • Home visits
  • The completion of a pre nursery ‘All About Me’ book
  • 2build a profile parent share, where parents can email any pictures of their child’s achievements, 
  • Termly parent’s meetings where parents are involved in discussions about their child’s progress and are actively involved in the target setting process.
  • The sharing of targets with parents through the use of school diaries and consultations. 
  • Annual reports home giving details of children’s learning and future targets.
  • Sending home reading diaries in Reception to enable a two-way dialogue about their child’s progress.
  • Homework such as reading, spellings, maths and library books.
  • An open door policy in school where parents are able to see Foundation Stage staff before or after school to discuss their child’s progress. 
  • Family learning events