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EYFS at North Wootton Academy

What is EYFS?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards that all Early Years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

All schools and Ofsted-registered Early Years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

The EYFS only applies to schools and Early Years providers in England.

The EYFS promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

More information about the EYFS framework can be found here.

Overarching Principles of the EYFS

There are four overarching principles that should shape practice in Early Years settings.

Unique Child

“Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.”

At North Wootton Academy, 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

“Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.”

At North Wootton Academy, we recognise that children learn to be strong and independent individuals from secure relationships, and we aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.

Enabling Environments

“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.”

At North Wootton Academy, we recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending 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

“Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Years provision, including children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).”

At North Wootton Academy, our foundation stage has two reception classrooms and a large outdoor area, which is shared. All of 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. The seven areas of learning are defined so that children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently.

We have thoroughly planned a timetable with an even balance to promote formal adult-led teaching and child-led independent choosing time.

Characteristics of Effective Learning 

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the Areas of Learning and Development.   The Characteristics of Effective Learning highlight the importance of a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them.

Playing and Exploring

“Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.”

At North Wootton Academy, we promote playing and exploring by encouraging children to realise that their actions influence the world, so they want to keep repeating them. They are supported to plan and think ahead about how they will explore or play with objects around the environment. We guide their thinking and actions by referring to visual aids or by modelling thinking out loud. Independence is our passion, so we always encourage children to do things for themselves. We allow children to bring their own interests into the classroom and allow them time to follow their own child-initiated activities.

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."

Areas of Learning 

The level of development children should be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS is defined by the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) as set out below. 

Prime Areas of Learning

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Communication and Language

Physical Development

Specific Areas of Learning



Understanding the World

Expressive Arts and Design


The ELGs are not used as a curriculum or in any way to limit the wide variety of rich experiences that are crucial to child development, from being read too frequently to playing with friends. Instead, the ELGs should support teachers to make a holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development, and their readiness for Year 1.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Building Relationships
  • SelfRegulation
  • Managing Self

Communication and Language

  • Listening, Attention and Understanding
  • Speaking

Physical Development

  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills


  • Word Reading
  • Comprehension
  • Writing


  • Number
  • Numerical Patterns

Understanding the World

  • Past and Present
  • The Natural World
  • People, Culture and Communities

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Creating with Materials
  • Being Imaginative and Expressive



At North Wootton Academy, we believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage provides the foundations for successful learners as they progress through their school career. It provides the children with the crucial skills required to establish the types of learners and future citizens that we wish to develop in order to support our community.

We intend to prepare children for the next level of their school education.

We want our children to be engaged, motivated, independent and reflective learners who are sociable and well-presented.

We want every child in Reception to be FRIENDS.

F – Fearless

R – Resilient and reflective

I – Independent

E - Engaged

N – Noticed

D - Dynamic

S – Self-motivated and sociable

We aim to deliver the in-depth understanding and fluency required across the children’s Reading, Writing, Phonics and Mathematics.  

At North Wootton Academy, we endeavour 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 resilient lifelong learners.

We aim to create an environment where children can get on with the joy of being a child and where they do not see a distinction between work and play. Children in Early Years are at a stage in their development where the best way for them to learn is through active, self-initiated activity.


At North Wootton Academy, the EYFS offers a curriculum that is broad, balanced and ambitious, which builds upon the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting point may be. We encourage children to demonstrate their attitudes and behaviours towards learning through the Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL).

We encourage children to develop independence within a secure and friendly atmosphere. We support children in building relationships through the development of social skills such as co-operation and sharing, and we help each child recognise their own strengths and achievements through experiencing success and by developing the confidence to work towards personal goals.

Here at North Wootton Academy, our high expectations enable each child to develop socially, physically, intellectually and emotionally and to achieve their full potential. We offer a structure for learning that has a range of starting points and unlimited availability for development through a wide range of new and exciting first-hand experiences that will give children the opportunity to consolidate, explore and test their skills, knowledge and understanding alongside existing experiences. We ensure that children are kept healthy and safe and that they achieve the knowledge and skills they need to continue their school career.

Within the EYFS at North Wootton, we deliver a curriculum that is evenly balanced between play and formal learning, which enables the children to learn new skills, knowledge and understanding which they can then transfer into their own learning and play.

Phonics and Mathematics are taught daily, where new skills and knowledge is taught by qualified teachers. Currently, we do not follow one accredited Phonics scheme, but instead we have researched several and integrated the most effective elements of each. 

As the year progresses, English lessons are introduced within the spring term to develop the children’s writing skills through North Wootton’s writing fluency guide.

Children are then given planned independent learning time every day to demonstrate new skills and knowledge within the enabling environments where we encourage children to transfer their newly learnt skills into their play.

Understanding the World knowledge is taught through topics from the Primary Knowledge Curriculum and through Discovery RE. Within our enabled environments, children are encouraged to wonder about the world around them and others focus on Understanding the World. 

Children are able to develop their creativity and uniqueness through the Expressive Arts and Design aspect of the curriculum, which is accessible to children at all times of the day. In order to develop children’s creativity and artistic skills, art lessons are planned and taught once a week.


In the final term of the year in which the child reaches age five, and no later than 30 June in that term, the EYFS Profile will be completed for each child. From the range of starting points, children will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, sociable and physically. The majority of children will meet a ‘good level of development’.

We know our curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious, and therefore, it consistently leads to good outcomes for our children. Children with SEND make good progress across all areas of the curriculum in line with their individual needs and progress measures. These children have individualised targets and support to ensure good progress is made.

Children’s phonetic skills are tracked weekly to identify strengths and weaknesses within the children’s knowledge. Additional support is given to these children to ensure they do not fall behind their peers. Mathematical skills are tracked half-termly. We use whole school reading trackers to monitor the progress of children’s reading ability.

EYFS Curriculum at North Wootton Academy

Currently, we do not follow one accredited Phonics scheme, but instead, we have researched several and integrated the most effective elements of each. Therefore, we use the approach itself is in the main a combination of Read, Write Inc (RWI), Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics. We use the bouncy and stretchy concept to identify phonemes from Read, Write Inc and the phoneme songs from Jolly Phonics as it is believed this multi-sensory approach best supports our learners in knowing and remembering more.  In addition, the lesson sequence each week is heavily influenced by RWI in which pupils spell, read and then write using the focus phonemes. Beyond this, the progression through the various stages of sounds links closely to the Letters and Sounds document with some small exceptions such as the split digraphs. 

The school is currently  embedding a mastery approach in teaching. Therefore, as such, North Wootton Academy is working alongside the Cambridgeshire  Maths HUB, following a sustaining mastery programme and following White Rose Maths.

Our Understanding of the World curriculum is split into topics of learning, which are outlined below. These are taken from the Primary Knowledge Curriculum.

In addition to the above topics of learning, our RE teaching in EYFS is taken from Discovery RE. The areas of learning are outlined below.

A Typical Day in EYFS

Here is our Autumn Term timetable.

Key Knowledge Progression

EYFS Curriculum Intents

Cross Reference of National Curriculum and EYFS

Key Content Areas

EYFS Curriculum Overview


Phonological Development (Phonics & Spelling)

EYFS Policy 2023-24