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Schoolsworks is a multi-academy trust in West Sussex. Our aim is to create small hubs of schools which work closely together to collaborate, share best practice and improve outcomes for children.

Schoolsworks

Whytemead Primary School

EYFS Curriculum Statement

 Starting School

At Whytemead, our aim is for all of our children to have a positive start to their education where they feel happy, safe and develop a love of learning. We work collaboratively with parents and carers to encourage independent, enthusiastic learners who thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of their various starting points and backgrounds.

To ensure a smooth and positive transition to life at Whytemead we:

  •       Foster strong relationships with our feeder pre-schools, attending transition meetings to share information about the children and visiting children in their own settings where appropriate.
  •       Do home visits for all of the children in the Summer Term prior to them starting.  We take each child a book and share it with them.  They then keep this book – parents have reported this as a very positive start to school.
  •       Invite children starting school the following September to attend weekly ‘Stay and Play’ sessions after school with their parents.
  •       Invite children to two taster sessions with their new teachers and peers in July. The children stay for an hour with their parents in the initial sessions, and, if ready, on their own for the second.
  •       Hold a ‘Starting School’ meeting for all the parents in July. We share information about starting school and what the parents can do to support their children over the summer.
  •       Start full time schooling as soon as possible for all in September.  Parents have the option to extend part time hours if necessary.
  •       Have a flexible initial timetable with short carpet sessions and lots of interacting with play to get to know the children.

Curriculum

Our curriculum has been carefully designed to meet the needs of our children. We

ensure a broad range of learning opportunities for all of our children with careful sequencing to help children build their learning over time. We ensure that all children’s individual needs are met through careful planning and assessment, identifying and addressing any issues and implementing early intervention or additional support if required. These include:

  •       Daily interventions on phonics sounds recognition and word blending.
  •       Daily fine motor activities to develop strength for writing.
  •       Daily practise of name writing.
  •       ‘Colourful semantics’ groups to discuss stories and new vocabulary.
  •       Targeted activities for children on their gaps in mathematical understanding.  
  •       Where appropriate in maths, children work on the prerequisite for learning each week.
  •       Gaps in knowledge shared with parents and suggestions given for activities to do at home.

The daily timetable allows our children to access a balance of teacher-led and self-initiated learning in all areas of the development. We have a mixture of whole class, small group and individual activities with opportunities to work collaboratively or on their own. The learning environment has been adapted to allow a quiet focused learning area alongside rich continuous provision opportunities.

Our curriculum is enhanced through visitors coming into school, such as the local fire service and interactive theatre groups, and through visits outside of school such as a trip to Sea Life Brighton.

Phonics

  •       Phonics and early reading are taught systematically from the beginning of the Autumn term using ‘Read Write Inc’.
  •       Information about our phonics scheme is shared with parents as their child begins reception and we have a reading meeting with parents in the Spring term.
  •       We have a well-managed home reading programme where children take home sounds, ditties or books to match their current level in reading.
  •       Progress is carefully monitored through regular assessments and gaps in learning are quickly identified when children are falling behind. Decisions are made about what extra help is needed which can include targeted individual or group work and extra support given to home learning.

Maths

Our children in reception use the same whole school maths approach as all the other year groups. This is heavily based on the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach and involves the children using manipulatives daily to support their learning. This has meant that by the time the children enter Year 1, they are familiar with a number of mathematical concepts and are aware of our textbook approach.

 Communication and language

Children entering Whytemead often have a low starting point in their speech and language so we place a high emphasis on the development of language and communication. We create a language rich environment by:

  •       Reading daily to the children and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems.
  •       Providing children with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts.  
  •       Planning adventurous vocabulary to be introduced through stimulating activities that will capture children’s imaginations and encourage them to join in with discussions.
  •       Spending time having quality interactions with the children, commenting on what they are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added.  
  •       Creating engaging role play areas within the classroom and outside area. Interacting with play and modelling the use of new vocabulary.  
  •       Having key vocabulary and pictures in areas throughout the classroom and outside area.
  •       Supporting children to attach language to their feelings through stories, role play and circle times.
  •       Daily ‘Vocabulary Ninja’ word of the day activity where children are introduced to new words and their meanings.  

Retrieval

We understand that revisiting and repetition of learning are crucial for long-term memory and our aim is to embed concepts for our children. In reception this may be the repetitive practice of putting on our coats, or remembering what an arrangement of three can look like and how many different ways it can be arranged. We use any opportunity available, such as counting fruit at the snack table, or blending words whilst waiting to go into the lunch hall. Alongside this incidental retrieval, we also plan for opportunities through:

  •       Daily retrieval of key number skills through the use of a counting stick and Rekenreks.
  •       Daily retrieval of phonics sounds that have been taught and practise blending to read words.
  •       Books we have shared being available in our book corner so children can retell with their friends.
  •       A class floor book. This is on display in the classroom and the children really enjoy looking through it and talking about their previous learning with their friends and visitors to the class.

Working with parents

Our aim is to build positive, long lasting relationships with our parents as the children move through the school. In reception we:

  •       Build initial relationships through transition events.
  •       Use an online journal called ‘Tapestry’ to share weekly learning and observations with parents. Parents are also able to use tapestry to share their child’s learning at home.
  •       Invite parents to come in to talk with the class, for example, for a special religious or cultural celebration, or to bring in an unusual pet they own for the children to hold and learn about.

 GLD Outcomes

Summer 2022

Summer 2023

Target for 2024 (based on on-entry data)

66%

68%

69%