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EYFS Curriculum Statement

The educational experience of children in their Early Years provision is intrinsic to children’s later success and as such, at Thorpedene, we work hard to ensure that the Reception Year provides children with the opportunities to develop the skills that they need, the will to learn and the thrill of investigation and success.

The curriculum that we deliver is child centred and is based closely on the developmental needs of each individual and class group, so whilst a common approach is used across the year group, each child will be able to access the curriculum in a way that is appropriate to them whilst core learning is delivered in an interesting and inspiring way. We follow the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Framework1 and accordingly, the “Characteristics of Learning”, the “Prime Areas” and “Specific Areas” are at the core of our assessment of child need and the planning for next steps for learning.

Characteristics of Learning

The Characteristics of Learning are key to knowing how best to move each individual child forward in their learning and so, our staff take the time to get to know each child and the ways in which they learn best. Teachers plan through working with the children and assessing their needs; they link their teaching to the current interests of the children. When the children’s interests change and develop, the teachers adapt their planning to reflect this and ensure that the environment is always interesting and challenging.

The Prime Areas

  • Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
  • Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

These areas are fundamental to children’s development and work together to support development in all other areas and for that reason, in the Reception Year at Thorpedene, all learning is underpinned by these three prime areas of learning.

The Specific Areas

  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

These areas of learning include many essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society. We ensure that all children receive their key learning for Phonics and Maths in groups that are appropriate to their development level; targeted individual interventions delivered through play ensure that all children are able to fulfil their potential.

Our main teaching programmes for teaching systematic synthetic phonics at Thorpedene are ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’ which together have proved highly successful. Phonics is taught daily using a fun and practical approach in groups with children of a similar ability; this teaching is reinforced in activities throughout the day.

Progress Assessment and Achievement

Each child’s achievement in the curriculum is recorded by the teacher using the Early Years Outcomes2 and Development Matters Statements3. Work that shows particularly good progress for an individual child is displayed on the class Progress Wall display and then added to the child’s Learning Journey Record along with other observations of their learning and progress.

Reception Baseline Assessment

In September 2017 the Department for Education announced that a new assessment in Reception would be introduced as a baseline measure to track pupils’ progress during primary school. 

The government said the proposed Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) would be developed in conjunction with the teaching profession, and would be 'teacher-mediated', meaning it would be administered by a teacher or teaching assistant.



The focus of the RBA will be on communication, language and literacy, and maths. It will take around 15 minutes.

The RBA data will be used to judge how much progress children have made by the end of KS2. There will be no "pass" or "fail" or numerical score, and the results of the RBA will not be used to track individual pupils or to judge schools' Foundation Stage performance.

The RBA will be about 15 minutes long, covering literacy, language, communication and early maths. Teachers will administer the assessment and record their results electronically.

The RBA will be interactive and practical, and the DfE suggests that "in most cases pupils should not be aware that they are being assessed". Children will be asked to answer questions verbally or by pointing at or moving objects. If children need a break during the assessment, the teacher will be able to pause at any time.

For more information about the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) please read the DFE parent guide.

RBA Parent GUide