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“Let Your Light Shine!” - Matthew 5:16

Shirley Avenue




BD19 4NA


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Policy

Links to the school vision – ‘Let your Light Shine’ (Matthew 5:16) Steps to success:

Love – children show care and concern for all their peers

Friendship – play and learn with their classmates building friendship groups

Respect – we respect one another and our environment

Forgiveness – we apologise if we upset or hurt someone and we accept this apology if we have been upset or hurt

Resilience – children are willing to ‘have a go’ and ‘keep on trying when things are difficult ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’, DfE, 2021.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the reception year. Our Early Years Foundation Stage Unit accommodates children between the ages of 3 to 5 years. In our school we have two nursery sessions each day and one full-time reception class. Children are offered a place in the Nursery in the term following their third birthday.

Children who have turned four by the 1st September of that school year are offered a full-time place in our Reception class. The EYFS Unit has two part-time teachers and a full-time teaching assistant.  To ensure best practice and continuity our foundation stage unit work has shared planning, activities, an indoor shared area and an outdoor learning environment.


At Gomersal St Mary’s we aim to give each child a positive and meaningful start to their school life, in which they can establish solid foundations on which to develop into independent and fearless lifelong learners.

We will:

  • 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 each child to recognise their own strengths and achievements through experiencing success
  • Develop self-confidence to work towards personal goals

Our high expectations enable every child to develop socially, physically, intellectually and emotionally and to achieve their full potential. We offer a well-planned curriculum and learning environment that offer unlimited opportunities for development through a wide range of new and exciting first-hand experiences that give children the opportunity to consolidate, explore and test their skills, knowledge and understanding; building on prior knowledge. We will ensure that children are kept healthy and safe and that they achieve the knowledge and skills they need to be school ready.

The Curriculum

The Nursery and Reception follow the curriculum as outlined in the 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) document, which is available to download at

This clearly defines what we teach.

The EYFS is based upon four principles:

  • Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning and Development

Unique Child

We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways, at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration/ sharing assemblies and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.

Positive Relationships

We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from secure relationships and aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.

Enabling Environments

We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observations we assess the children’s interests and stages of development and learning needs before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning.

Learning and Development

Our foundation stage unit occupies one large classroom and an extensive outdoor area. We also have access to other classrooms for quiet focussed learning activities.  All our learning environments are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest.

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational provision in early year’s settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. None of the areas of learning can be delivered in isolation from the others. Our children’s learning experiences enable them to develop competency and skills across a number of learning areas. They require a balance of adult led and child initiated activities in order for most children to reach the levels required at the end of EYFS.

Areas of Learning

The EYFS is made up of three prime areas of learning:

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

There are four specific areas of learning:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

At Gomersal St Mary’s CE Primary School all areas are delivered through a well-planned, play-based approach, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Throughout the foundation stage our planning ensures that each child has the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in every area at the appropriate developmental level. Our long term planning ensures coverage so that all children have opportunities to work towards, and achieve, the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) that define the expectations for most children to reach by the end of the EYFS. We follow a half termly topic based approach which allows flexibility to ensure that both children’s needs and interests are taken into account.

Learning through play underpins our approach to teaching and learning in the foundation stage. We embrace the fact that young children learn best from activities and experiences that interest and inspire them to learn. In doing so we can provide children with stimulating, active play experiences in which they can explore and develop their learning and to help them make sense of the world. Children have opportunities through their play to think creatively and critically alongside other children as well as on their own. They are able to practise skills, build upon and revisit prior learning and experiences at their own level and pace. Play gives our children the opportunity to pursue their own interests, inspire those around them and consolidate their understanding and skills. The children learn to adapt, negotiate, communicate, discuss, investigate and ask questions. Our adults take an active role in child initiated play through observing, modelling, facilitating, teaching and extending play, skills and language.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

The EYFS also includes the characteristics of effective teaching and learning and staff plan activities with these in mind. The characteristics highlight the importance of a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them. The three characteristics are;

  • Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
  • Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.


Our whole school ethos embraces inclusion: we recognise and respect the abilities and strengths of our children at all levels of development and the wealth of knowledge and experience that they bring from their differing backgrounds and cultures.

We give our children every opportunity to achieve their best. We do this by taking account of our children’s range of life experiences when planning for their learning and we set realistic and challenging expectations that meet the needs of individual children, so they are able to reach their full potential.  This is achieved by planning to meet the needs of boys and girls, children with special educational needs, children who are more-able, children from all social and cultural backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds. We aim to build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs

We will provide:

  • a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children and to help them to learn effectively
  • a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued
  • resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and stereotyping
  • challenging activities for all children and for those whose ability and understanding are advanced

We will monitor children’s progress and take action to provide support as necessary. Where a specific need is suspected we will liaise with the Inclusion Manager and seek advice from outside agencies, such as the speech and language service, the educational psychologist.  We adhere to the Equality policy of the school.

Early Years Pupil Premium – we will endeavour to identify our least advantaged pupils and inform families or carers of their opportunity to apply for their child’s entitlement to extra funding in school. All extra funding we receive will be used to support areas in which we identify that the child will best benefit. We will track children to ensure that they are making good progress and to ensure that support is adjusted to target specific areas as the child develops.


Throughout nursery and reception children’s knowledge, understanding, skills and achievements are assessed and tracked using the developmental stages set out in the document ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) DfE 2021’.

We make regular assessments of children’s learning, and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the Foundation Stage takes the form of both formal and informal observations, photographic evidence and through planned activities. Assessment is completed regularly and involves both the teacher and other adults, as appropriate.

Foundation Stage staff use observations as the basis for planning. Staff are skilled at observing children to identify their achievements, interests and next steps for learning. These observations then lead the direction of the planning. Relevant and significant observations are recorded in the children’s Learning Journeys on Tapestry.

Our assessment depends on us getting to know our children very well and to this end we gather information from a range of sources; observations of the children in play, in adult led activities, through discussions with families and carers and through talking to the children. We keep written and photographic evidence to help us build up a picture of children’s strengths and achievements and to help us to plan for children’s next steps in learning. We use the Tapestry software to log this evidence and monitor progress.  Parents can add information to their child’s profile.

Observational evidence and samples of children’s work throughout the school year will be used to assess children as ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’ based on their understanding and achievement of the Early Learning Goals set out in the EYFS curriculum.

We record each child’s level of development against the 17 early Learning goals as Emerging or Expected. Our children’s knowledge, skills and understanding continue to be tracked throughout the foundation stage and assessed against the ELG’s at the end of Reception to establish an end of foundation stage achievement and learning profile for each child in preparedness for their transition to Key Stage One.


At Gomersal St Mary’s CE Primary School we recognise that starting school and moving classes has the potential to be a stressful time for both children and families.  Therefore, a transition timetable ensures that our children and families are as confident and secure as they can be when preparing for their next year group.

Early Years meet the children and their parents before they start school to provide families with key information, school expectations, knowledge on our curriculum and assessment and advice on how they can help their child. In the summer term children new to the school have the opportunity to meet with their teachers in their classroom to help them prepare for their new class. Information packs are given out to families with key information to help in the preparation to start.

The pre-school experiences of children vary considerably; for some Nursery Children a settling in period is needed to ensure that they have the time to become secure and familiar with the new routines before staying for the full session.  Reception children stay for the full day from the beginning of the school year.

At the end of each school year teachers share their knowledge of each child’s achievements, including end of year assessment data, with their next class teacher to ensure that all teachers have a well-rounded picture of the children prior to the new school year.

During children’s time in Early Years a range of shared activities are planned for all classes to help develop children’s confidence and to ensure continuity in experiences throughout the foundation stage. Children make use of the whole school facilities, such as the hall, shared area, and playing field for appropriate activities to ensure that children are confident and well prepared for moving around the school and for mixing with older children when they start school. Throughout the Reception year, when children are ready they are gradually introduced to whole school activities such as Worship and to using the main playground. Nursery children also attend Celebration Worship which is held once per week.

Partnership with Families

We believe that families and carers are a child’s first educator and therefore work very closely to ensure they are involved in what their child does at school.  We want families to feel they can speak to us about their child and to feel comfortable in our setting.  Families are welcomed and encouraged to share information about their child, to ask questions and to discuss their child’s learning with the teachers.  Three times a year families receive a progress sheet highlighting the academic and pastoral progress of their child. Families are also invited to speak to teachers about their child’s progress on a more formal basis 3 times per year. Reception children also receive an end of year report. Families are always welcomed to discuss their children informally at the end of the school day. There are also other opportunities for EYFS families to participate in school life including: class presentations, a Welcome Service in Church, Sports Day and our Summer Concert.

Health & safety and safeguarding

Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. We follow the safeguarding and welfare requirements detailed in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance (2021) and we adhere to the school’s safeguarding policy.

We are a healthy school and our children under 5 receive free milk; all children have access to fresh water and free fruit from a Government scheme. Reception children who stay for lunch are eligible for free school meals or can choose to bring in a healthy packed lunch.

The Early Years classroom has access to their own toileting facilities and we teach the children the importance of hygiene, hand washing techniques and throughout the year we plan cooking activities to give children experiences of a range of healthy food.