At Iceni Academy, we believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial in providing the foundations of learning that can be built on for the rest of the child’s years at school. We strive to personalise each child’s education, by linking their starting points, interests and the curriculum to their learning and the EYFS environment. Our aim is for every child to reach their full potential by providing first hand learning experiences, allowing children to build resilience, ambition and integrity, celebrate differences and instil a lifelong love of learning.

Reception children are happy and safe.  Parents are full of praise for the way their children are helped to settle quickly.  Leaders work closely with families and pre-schools before children start.  This means that they identify children’s needs early and provide support immediately.  The early years curriculum is adapted to meet the needs of the children.  Children successfully develop knowledge and skills in preparation for Year 1.

Ofsted, 2020

We follow the Development Matters curriculum, which is made up of seven areas of learning:

The Prime Areas:

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

The Specific Areas:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts

These areas have a further three overarching elements, called ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’, which are at the heart of the EYFS curriculum:

  • Playing and Learning
  • Active Learning
  • Thinking Critically

We have written a long-term plan, which incorporates these areas of the curriculum, as well as stretching the most fascinated of minds! Each topic starts by asking children what they would like to know, this is built into the topic, which is based on small focussed activities and child initiated activities inside and outside, based in our free flow classroom. We assess children constantly to ensure they are developing and invite parents in regularly to look through work together and discuss how their child is getting on.

We use continuous provision planning to challenge all pupils based on their current level of working, to reach the next stage. This prepares them for year one and beyond.

The schools who make the most progress have reading at the heart of their curriculum with children reading out loud frequently with carefully selected books.

Bold Beginnings, November 2017

At Iceni Hockwold, in our EYFS class, the children read in a variety of different ways:

During ERIC each morning, the children read with their parents. These books consolidate phonics learning, taught in phonics time, based on the Letters and Sounds programme.

Staff listen to children read at least once a week, more often if the child does not read at home.

Children have daily phonics sessions, where they read a sentence based on the sounds they have been learning. These sessions are ability taught after assessing children on the phonetic knowledge acquired.

We have a ‘Book of the Week’ where children can listen to an audio story and follow the words in the book.

We have a story each day. The books have been specifically chosen from ‘The 100 books your child should read before they are 5’.

Sharing books are chosen from the school library and sent home each week. This gives parents the opportunity to read a variety of books with their child.

We run a phonic workshop to explain how to read phonetically and have an ‘open house’ policy for parents to ask questions during ERIC.

We run Reading Cafes for parents to come in and enjoy a book and activities with their child.

Sentence strips are around the classroom for children to read in their own learning, gaining team points when they read them to an adult.

Reading badges are awarded each week to a member of the class who has tried really hard with their reading in school.

The reading raffle scheme remains popular. This allows children to be rewarded for reading at home to parents. They get a raffle ticket every time they read at home and one ticket is drawn at the end of the week. The winner receives a bag of sweets!

The children have weekly Vocabulary Builder sessions to introduce and extend childrens’ language skills.

The children have weekly ‘Group Reading’ sessions. During this session the children read a book together, with the adult teaching reading and grammatical skills. We have only just started it, but they really enjoy it!

January 2020

A rigorous approach to the teaching of reading develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading. At the early stages of learning to read, reading materials are closely matched to learners’ phonics knowledge.

Ofsted Education Inspection Framework, May 2019