Early Years Policy

Our Vision

At Queens Park Academy we aim to provide every child with the skills to become a happy, independent and curious lifelong learner. Our priority is that our Early Years provision provides a high level of engagement and active learning through a range of skill based activities. These activities are a balance of adult led activity and child initiated learning planned by staff.

Our Principles

We strive to meet every child’s entitlement to develop a love of learning that will enable them to have the best possible future life chances.

Children develop and learn in different ways and 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; (Statutory framework, March 2014)

The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment, underpin learning and development across all areas. A stimulating environment linked to quality interactions between adults and pupils, supports each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.

Organisation

Children are admitted into the Nursery the term after their 3rd birthday. The cut off for the birthdates is August 31st for September intake, 31st December for January intake and 31st March for April intake. We offer 15 free universal hours at Nursery in line with government policy and offer extended 30 hours funded places for children who are eligible. Our 30 hour offer is 5 days a week between 9am and 3pm. We employ a nursery teacher so can have a ratio of 1:13. Families wanting to start our Reception classes need to apply through Bedford Borough Council.

Learning and Development

Learning and development is categorised into three prime areas of learning:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

And four specific areas of learning:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Characteristics of Effective Learning

The characteristics of effective learning are embedded into our approach to ensure that children have the motivation to take their own learning forward.

  • playing and exploring
  • active learning
  • creating and thinking critically When these are in place sustained learning will take place.

Our EYFS Curriculum

  • is at the heart of our learning journey approach.
  • is systematic, innovative and strategically planned, with the ability to follow children’s interests, as appropriate.
  • is reviewed in the light of national developments, new thinking and research and development.
  • introduces challenging, engaging and real-life problems.
  • strives to encourage and develop a love of learning.
  • allows learning happen within a child centred approach.
  • ensures resources and apparatus are available to support learning at every stage of development.
  • ensures resources and apparatus are available to support learning in every area of
  • the EYFS curriculum.
  • ensures all areas of learning are regarded with the same level of importance and
  • are interlinked in learning.
  • includes fundamental British values to teach children a sense of self and belonging; enabling them to learn and stay true to the values that make people good human beings.
  • ensures that children learn to live together peacefully, with each of them playing a valuable role in the multi-cultural world in which they live.

The Enabling Environment

The Early Years classes are carefully planned to ensure all areas are used to enable learning for every child. The children have the choice of where they choose to learn. All activities are based upon current assessment and all have a main learning intention that can be accessed with and without adult support, providing challenge where needed. Our basic provision is linked to the age related expectations of each cohort. We encourage child initiated activities and adapt our continuous provision to reflect interest and attainment of learners. We enhance our provision through adults observing involvement and providing quality conversation and questioning.

Planning

We use the development statements from Development Matters (DfE) to identify next steps for each child, in order to deepen, challenge and extend their learning. During planning sessions, discussion takes place to ensure activities encourage Characteristics of Effective Learning to be demonstrated and embedded. Planning is based on children’s interests. The Curriculum Map shows the learning followed throughout the year. These are subject to change according to cohort interests. The views of the children are gathered at a timetabled session in Reception each week. In Nursery the practitioners talk to children as they learn to understand interests. Activities based on skills are led by adults in the classrooms. These activities ensure learning happens through creative opportunities, a supportive environment and a sound pedagogical understanding. Appropriate resources in the classes are stimulating and relevant. The resources are provided to create rich learning opportunities through a range of highly structured, adult led, child led or child initiated learning. Child-initiated activities may be instigated when the child brings something to the setting, which might lead to the provision of resources, stories and pictures to support this interest. A whole class focus is linked to activities within the EYFS setting. These are adapted continuously to meet the needs of the unique child. Attention to children’s adaptation of activities is encouraged and creates extended learning opportunities. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves through self-selecting tasks and activities. The activities offer opportunities for extended learning and are structured to provide challenge. Planning takes into account children with individual needs in line with the Inclusion policy.

Assessment

On-going formative assessment is at the heart of our effective early years practice. We make regular assessments of children’s learning and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS takes the form of observations and this involves the teacher and other adults as appropriate.

From September 2019 we will use CEM’s EYFS assessment tracker to capture baseline assessments that are carried out in the first few weeks of school. This assessment will inform us of the academic attainment at point of entry. The EY team will also assess the Prime Areas of every child on entry and this information will be recorded using Target Tracker. This information will be analysed within our EYFS team as well as being shared with SLT.

Every child will also be assessed using the WellComm toolkit to establish and track the communication skills of individuals or groups of children.

We ensure our end of EYFS assessments are reliable through:

  • our practitioners’ knowledge of the child gained through observation and interaction
  • our environment enabling the child to flourish to their full capacity
  • our assessments ensure a range of contributors, e.g. parents, enrichment team,
  • other relevant adults
  • moderation across our EYFS team
  • moderation with other cluster settings and Bedford Borough

Parents and carers are given the opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher during ILD each term and will receive a written report at the end of the year, which will include the end of FS result.
More informally we meet with parents throughout the school year as and when necessary to discuss their child particular needs. The provision will be monitored using the URLEY, ECERs and POMs systems at planned points each term.

Transition

Planning for a smooth and thorough transition starts as soon as possible, and well in advance of the children’s start dates. We have created good links with our main feeder nurseries and visit all pre-school settings that our new children attend. To ensure the best possible transition we:

  • value the parent as the first educator of their child
  • visit every feeder pre-school within our new intake to discuss essential information on every child
  • share important information about our school during a new-parents meeting (June)
  • use written information sent by pre-schools to inform early planning
  • hold a series of Stay and Play sessions for parents and children in June and July
  • every child has a home visit from 2 members of the staff team
  • stagger entry of whole cohort in September to enable calm, quiet and more individualised start to school

Working in partnership

We place highly the benefits of working in partnership have a huge impact on the effectiveness of our EYFS setting. We value our partnerships and endeavour to actively maintain these by sharing information, ideas, expertise and our knowledge within our team and with parents, carers, colleagues and other professionals.

We are part of the Bedford Borough EY Cluster Hub of local nursery provisions.