Foundation Curriculum

Plant: Why do we teach what we teach?

In the EYFS at Combe Down Primary School 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 through the Key Stage 1 and beyond.

Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as personal, moral and spiritual development, go on to be active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners. We provide a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum which prepares them for now and for the future in terms of opportunities and experiences. Our intent is to take into consideration each individual child’s starting points and needs as they begin their learning journey. We provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support learning, to consolidate and deepen knowledge, and ensure children meet their next steps.

Nurture: How do we teach what we teach? 

Curriculum in the EYFS at Combe Down Primary School incorporates the ‘Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ as well as other experiences and opportunities which best meet the developmental needs of the children, based around four complimentary themes.

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

  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

  • Children learn and develop well in stimulating, enabling environments.

  • Children develop and learn in different ways.

The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has seven areas of learning which are divided into Prime and Specific areas. They are:

Prime Areas of Learning

Physical Development Communication and Language Personal, Social, Emotional Development

Specific Areas of Learning

Literacy Mathematics Understanding the World Expressive Art and Design

The delivery of the curriculum uses an integrated thematic approach where the 7 areas of learning and development are integrated into a theme if appropriate, but also taught discretely where this might be more suitable to the circumstances. Explicit thematic weekly and medium-term planning is constantly adapted in response to the children’s needs as well as “in the moment” planning that responds to spontaneous learning opportunities.

The Prime areas of learning and development play a significant role in encouraging children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. They’re a driving force behind helping children as they learn to form relationships, moderate emotions and thrive in their day-to-day life. Learning in the Specific areas is dependent on a secure foundation in the Prime areas.

Literacy: Reading and Writing

Children follow the Jolly Phonics scheme, a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7.

Our continuous provision time offers complementary practical activities for children to use their phonics knowledge independently. We encourage parents to read with their child and to recognise the importance of reading to their child on a daily basis to promote an enjoyment and love of reading. We also recognise that children need a vast range of vocabulary in order to succeed in life. This is taught explicitly as part of our literacy lessons.

During each week, the children will read with an adult at least once, complete writing tasks with an adult, and take on a range of child-initiated tasks through both the indoor and outdoor provision.


In Reception, we follow the White Rose approach with an emphasis on studying composition of numbers 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.

We also encourage children to use Doodle Maths at home, and set optional work to be done that helps consolidate work done in the classroom. 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.

Grow: How do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?

Staff in EYFS refer to ‘Development Matters 2021’, and then ensure our planning, adult interaction and learning environment (including continuous provision) support children to reach their next steps.

We strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is the best possible from their varied starting points. Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year 1. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched provision time, wider curriculum, structured learning activities alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years. The Reception Baseline Assessment is administered annually in the Autumn term of the Reception year from September 2021. The RBA provides children with starting points for their on-going progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically from Reception to Year 6. Information obtained from the RBA will inform teacher’s initial planning and curriculum provisions to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the Reception year and their preparation for the KS1.

We validate our assessments by co-operating with other schools in the Palladian Academy Trust to ensure our assessments are in line with those of other school judgements. The impact of our curriculum will also be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into well rounded individuals who embody our school’s Christian values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable citizens of the future. Teachers track the children’s progress through observations in-provision, and through discrete assessments. Learning is then scaffolded for children who need extra support or challenge. Practitioners then meet with senior leaders to discuss progress and next steps.

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