Early Years Provision
Working closely with you will mean that pupils will achieve their potential and become valuable members of the community. Children’s attitudes and personal qualities are very important to us and we work hard in partnership with you to develop these. (Corynne Peace, Headteacher)
At Co-op Academy Portland we place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. We believe in providing a secure foundation for future learning and development of our children, developing happy and curious children who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points. We ensure children feel safe and secure, developing independence, creative thinking and perseverance. Children feel valued and listened to, resulting in high levels of self-esteem and engagement. We understand and follow children’s interests and provide opportunities for our EYFS curriculum to support learning, consolidate and deepen knowledge and ensure children meet their next steps.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips and visits.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Read, Write Inc program faithfully so that they meet good outcomes for reading. We follow the CLPE approach to Literacy focusing on a text each half term. The texts are high quality texts which are both visually and language rich which engage, enrich and excite children.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths meetings where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. Staff also use ‘pinny time’ which is a quick, on the spot intervention focused on sight words, blending and number retention with target individuals. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children.
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND. We want each child to get the best possible start in life and to be ready to thrive in Key Stage One. We do this by ensuring ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning process. Staff observe pupils and these observations are used to plan next steps and experiences which ensure progress. We use an online based learning journey to record assessments which are also shared by parents. We use this information to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively. During each assessment window, three times a year, teachers update the progress children have made onto Otrack which allows us to assess the impact of teaching and evaluate whether it has been enough.
At the end of EYFS, staff completes the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 early learning goals.The EYFS team meet for regular meetings and receive necessary training linked to the ADP .Teachers attend in house and external moderations and attend regular pupil progress meetings to ensure progress is being made for each individual child.
The EYFS lead is committed to raising standards by attending relevant CPD and ensuring each child at Co-op Academy Portland has the best start on their school journey.