Early Years


At Shafton Primary Academy our EYFS curriculum follows the statutory guidance EYFS Framework 2023 and includes the characteristics of effective teaching and learning.  We provide our children with a curriculum that is designed to be flexible, engaging and exciting. We believe that all children deserve memorable experiences, rich in awe and wonder that will allow children’s’ natural curiosity and creativity to flourish. We value the development of children as individuals and provide them with the skills, knowledge and understanding that they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. 

Play engages children’s bodies, minds and emotions. In playing children can learn to interact with other and be part of a community, to experience and manage their own feelings confidently. At Shafton Primary Academy play is central to our EYFS curriculum as we deliver learning through practical hands on, play based experiences. Our environment promotes independence and exploration right from the start. Warm, skilful adult interactions nurture and support children as they begin to link learning to their play. Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community, through working with other year groups and attending whole school events and celebrations. 


Our children learn through a mixture of adult-led, child initiated and independent learning activities. This learning is accessible indoor and out where children can feely access the outdoor provision during continuous provision. Here they learn about friendship, are architects, risk takers, den builders, explorers and nurture detectives. We deliver teaching sessions focusing on communication and language, literacy, mathematics, PSED and phonics development. We work in small groups to ensure we both support and challenge children to reach the next stage of their development. Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum and staff plan resourcefully for opportunities for communication, sustained shared thinking and physical challenge to build on existing skills. 

Reading is at the heart of the curriculum. Our topics are built around high quality texts to ensure our children experience a range of language and vocabulary development, encouraging a love of reading. Children start each topic by sharing questions and ideas to record a starting point for learning, at the end of each week the children reflect on what they have learnt. 

Teacher observations, interactions and the outcomes of teachable moments are recorded and contribute to the children’s online learning journey, which is shared throughout the year with our families through the Seesaw app. This allows for a strong, two way partnership between school and home. 


Our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is measured from their varied starting points. We strive to ensure that children reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and are at least in line with National Expectations. On-going assessment allows us to identify gaps in children’s learning so we can quickly support through tailored interventions. We have strong relationships between our KS1 and KS2 teams to ensure our children are working towards the next stages of learning. Our children go on to achieve above national average results in phonics, end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments. 

During the first half term, all staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each child’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress. The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment) focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy’, and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of Key Stage 2. 

All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excess paperwork. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing/making. 

In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where staff judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELG’s. We work collaboratively with a cluster team across the local area to moderate and support professional development and judgements. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’. Whilst there is no judgement to state if a child is exceeding beyond an ELG we continue to track and challenge children that are identified as more able.  

Impact is also evident through our successful transitions into Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of subjects – both core and foundation – children leave EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, geographers, artists, musicians, writers and mathematicians.