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St James Primary School

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Early Intent, Impact and implementation:


At St James, we recognise the fundamental role a child’s early years has in shaping the person and learner they become. Our EYFS curriculum is designed to lay strong foundations so that the children develop the characteristics of an effective learner as well as having the knowledge and skills to be ready for the Key Stage 1 curriculum.

Our intention is to provide children with a safe and stimulating environment that will allow them to thrive. We aim to develop children’s curiosity, enquiry and nurture them into becoming independent and resilient learners. Our broadly enriched, rounded and stimulating learning environments allow children to work with adults and peers in a climate of mutual respect to help develop:

  • confidence in their ability to learn
  • the ability to be an effective communicator
  • the social skills necessary to learn
  • the emotional capabilities to enable them to understand, regulate their feelings and to solve problems
  • a sense of self (a unique child)

Our purposeful and engaging curriculums map out progress, but also recognises that learning in the early years is not always neat and orderly and considers that pupils learn best in different ways. Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. We respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through meaningful, positive interaction to move their learning forwards. We believe all children can succeed and ensure that our teaching practise is adaptive and responsive to the needs of all. We have planned progression using the Development Matters document, along with the Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals set out for the end of Reception year expectations.

We aim to ensure that children thrive within our early years settings and develop transferable learning skills, attitudes and understanding that will form the basis of lifelong learning and encourage them to become useful and active members of a diverse and constantly changing society.



Within Reception and Little Ducks nursery we meet the welfare requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). We actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all of our pupils. We recognise that children will learn most effectively when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults who care for them. We aim to provide settings that encompasses a safe and stimulating environment where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence that helps them to achieve their fullest potential.

We meet the legal requirements for:

  • safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare
  • providing practitioners with appropriate qualifications, training, skills and knowledge
  • maintaining records, policies and procedures for the safe and efficient management of our settings and to meet the needs of our children
  • planning and organisation to ensure that every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and developmental experience tailored to meet their individual needs

Our curriculum follows the new Early Years Foundation Framework and covers the 3 prime areas of learning and the 4 specific areas of learning.

Prime areas:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

Specific areas:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

These areas of taught in equal balance between adult initiated and adult directed activities; with child initiated and problem solving approach to learning. The Early Learning Goals are in line with the National Curriculum and provide the basis for planning throughout the Foundation Stage.

Each half term, pupils will cover a new topic or theme of work, what they already know, understand and would like to know is consider when planning. This learning then develops through a series of lessons that builds skills, knowledge and understanding within that topic of learning. We strive to provide children with opportunities they may not have experienced before or that enhance their learning in school.

Continuous Provision:

We value the importance of positive and constructive play. Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. We create enabling environments which are safe and stimulating, allowing children to thrive. Our learning environments and curriculum encourage curiosity and develop Characteristics of Effective Learning to help children to become lifelong learners. Teachers and practitioners sensitively support and extend children’s learning through high-quality interactions. There is also a balance of open-ended resources and target activities linked to focus texts and/or themes.

Children have direct teaching in phonics and maths daily; literacy is taught a minimum of 3 days a week, in addition to weekly PE, topic, music and regular PSED sessions following our whole-school scheme Trick Box.


At St James we follow DfE accredited Monster Phonics synthetic phonics programme. Children in reception access daily phonics to develop their reading and writing skills with intervention opportunities for those who find this area of learning more difficult.

Our 3-4-year-olds children in Little Ducks follow the phase 1 programme of Monster Phonics with daily sessions centred around the seven aspects of pre-phonics teaching:
Aspect 1 - Environmental Sound Discrimination

Aspect 2 - Instrumental Sound Discrimination

Aspect 3 - Body Percussion Sound Discrimination

Aspect 4 - Rhythm and Rhyme

Aspect 5 - Alliteration

Aspect 6 - Voice Sounds

Aspect 7 - Oral Blending and Segmenting

During the Summer term children have the opportunity, if developmentally appropriate, to move onto pre-phase 2 which centres around learning a letter sound (phoneme) each week.

For further information about how early reading is taught and prioritised throughout early years and across the school please follow the link to our website which gives further details on the Seven Aspects of Reading.


We use the Kinetic Letters handwriting scheme to develop children’s expertise in handwriting where our children develop their core body strength moving towards the ability to correctly form letters and numbers in Reception. Within Little Ducks the children take part in daily Funky Finger sessions where children access a variety of finger/hand/arm strengthening activities.

Children learn to write for a variety of purposes both those that are child-initiated and those that are set by adults. Children are encouraged and praised for mark making and ascribing meaning to their marks.


We follow a maths mastery approach to mathematical learning in both Little Ducks and Reception. Reception follows the NCETM’s curriculum of mastery. We place a strong focus on subitising skills and conservation of number using concrete objects, models and images. Children are encouraged to make links and solve problems using their maths skills and have the chance to explore and apply their understanding during continuous provision

Little Ducks focuses on the six key areas of early maths learning, the areas are as follows:

  • cardinality and counting
  • comparison
  • composition
  • pattern
  • shape and space
  • measures

Evidence of children’s learning is collected through work completed in their Learning Journey, observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents via our online learning platform Tapestry.

Throughout Little Ducks and Reception and as part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in depth knowledge of the pupils acquired through ongoing assessment. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all pupils throughout the year. End of year assessments are finalised during the summer term, summarising each child’s development at that point against the Early Learning Goals and Development Matters. Using frequent teacher assessments, we identify children who may require additional support. Targeted interventions are carefully planned and monitored to provide children with the support they need in order to consolidate their skills and apply them independently.



With the successful implementation of both an enriched, rounded and balanced curriculum and a well-structured, safe, active and challenging learning environment, both indoors and outdoors children will be able to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that enables them to be successful learners and, as a result, achieve their potential, making them ready for the years ahead and more fully appreciate and understand the world around them, experiencing and learning about different cultures, music, dance, art and history.


  • children will actively ask questions about the world around them and their learning experiences and they will never fear making a mistake but instead see this as an opportunity to learn
  • children will be able to make links with their learning, develop their skills as they are able to use and apply skills learnt within their learning across the curriculum
  • children will be skilful at solving problems and they will have effectively developed their personal levels of resilience and independent learning skills
  • children will be successful learners and fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Foundation Stage to Year One


Observations – practitioners focus on quality interactions with pupils and record key moments that evidence progress and steps forward for the individual child. The observations form formative assessments that inform future planning and ensure pupils build on their current knowledge and skills.

Assessments - teachers use timely assessments in phonics, reading, writing and maths to inform judgements and to adjust support as required. Children are assessed against the ELGs at the end of the reception year.


Please find below Progression of Skills documents which map out progression across Little Ducks nursery and reception.


progression of skills prime areas eyfs 2023 2024.pdf

progression of skills specific eyfs 2023 2024.pdf