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Early Years Policy


Cerne Abbas CE VC First School

Early Years

Foundation Stage policy



Date of policy                May 2023

Date reviewed by the

Governing Body


Member of staff

responsible in Cerne

Abbas CE VC First


Heather Stephens
Review dateMay 2025


1. Aims


Our vision is to be the best we can be.


We are committed to nurturing every child to thrive in a safe and engaging environment based on our Christian values of Peace, Trust, Friendship, Courage, Joy and Forgiveness. We strive to develop happy and confident learners ready to face the challenges of their next steps.


At Cerne Abbas CE VC First School we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory framework (2021). Within this framework there are four guiding principles which shape our practice:

  1. Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.
  2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).


2. Legislation


This policy is based on requirements set out in the  Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2021)’.  


3. Structure of the EYFS


At Cerne Abbas CE VC First School our EYFS setting includes provision for Reception aged children and 3-year-old pre-school provision. Our setting is available for pre-school aged children full time, charging £4.20 per hour. Children can attend for a whole day, morning session or afternoon session with the option to include lunch as they wish.


4. Curriculum


Our early years setting follows the curriculum as outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework  (September 2021).


Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.


Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.


These are the prime areas:

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


The prime areas are strengthened and applied through four specific areas:

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


Throughout their time in the Reception Year our children partake in an ambitious curriculum, which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals. These goals are defined as Early Learning Goals (ELGs)


Woven throughout the EYFS curriculum at Cerne Abbas CE VC First School are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.

  • Playing and exploring – Children learn to investigate, experience things first hand and ‘have a go’
  • Active learning – Children are supported to maintain concentration/focus, show resilience in their learning and to feel proud of and motivated by their achievements.
  • Creating and thinking critically - Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop/refine strategies for doing things


These elements underpin how we consider each child’s learning and development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential for ensuring each learner meets their full potential and works towards becoming ‘the best they can be’.


4.1 Planning


Our Early Years Teacher plans purposeful play activities and continuous provision within the learning environment to meet individual needs and enable all children to develop and learn effectively. Practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the three prime areas.


All practitioners identify the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to support and facilitate learning experiences. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff will consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.


In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice. Children will be included in the planning process enabling topics and learning to follow children’s interests hoping to inspire and motivate all learners. Children are encouraged to develop as independent learners, accessing their learning through a purposefully planned environment with a mix of child initiated activities and adult led tasks.


4.2 Teaching


Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through positive, quality interactions.


Children have continual access to learning opportunities indoors and outdoors. Practitioners are aware of children’s next steps and target these needs through facilitated learning experiences.


For our Reception aged children, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for year 1.


5. Assessment


At Cerne Abbas CE VC First School ongoing formative and observational assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. Practitioners use observational assessment to continually identify children’s achievements, interests and learning experiences. These observations are shared with parents and/or carers and are used to identify children’s next steps and shape future planning. Practitioners also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers through the online learning journey Tapestry.


At the end of the EYFS (when the child reaches the end of Reception), the EYFS Teacher completes the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals, indicating whether they are:

  • Meeting expected levels of development


  • Not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’)


The profile reflects ongoing observations and discussions with parents and/or carers. The results of the profile are then shared with parents and/or carers.


5.1 Early Learning Goal Descriptors


Communication and Language

ELG: Listening, Attention and Understanding

- Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions.

- Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding.

- Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.


ELG: Speaking

- Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary.

- Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes, and poems when appropriate.

-Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

ELG: Self-Regulation

- Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly.

- Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate.

- Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.


ELG: Managing Self

- Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience, and perseverance in the face of challenge.

- Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly.

- Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet, and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.


ELG: Building Relationships

- Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others.

- Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers.

- Show sensitivity to their own and to others’ needs.


Physical Development

ELG: Gross Motor Skills

- Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others.

- Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing; Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping, and climbing.


ELG: Fine Motor Skills

Children at the expected level of development will:

- Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases.

- Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery.

- Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.



ELG: Comprehension

- Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary.

- Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories.

- Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes, and poems and during role-play.


ELG: Word Reading

- Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.

- Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending.

- Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.


ELG: Writing

- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.

- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.

- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.



ELG: Number

- Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number.

- Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5.

- Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.


ELG: Numerical Patterns

- Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system.

- Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity.

- Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.


Understanding the World

ELG: Past and Present

- Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society.

- Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.

- Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.


ELG: People, Culture and Communities

- Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.

- Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.

- Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and –when appropriate – maps.


ELG: The Natural World

- Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants.

- Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.

- Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.


Expressive Arts and Design

ELG: Creating with Materials

- Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools, and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

- Share their creations, explaining the process they have used.

- Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.


ELG: Being Imaginative and Expressive

- Invent, adapt, and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher.

- Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs; Perform songs, rhymes, poems, and stories with others, and – when appropriate – try to move in time with music.


6. Working with parents


At Cerne Abbas CE VC First School we recognise that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.


Parents and/or carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development. Parents are invited to parent consultations with the EYFS Teacher/EYFS Key Worker twice yearly and will receive a written report noting achievements in the summer term. The EYFS profile helps to provide parents and/or carers with a well-rounded picture of their child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities. Parents are involved in discussions about children’s progress and development from early on and targets or next steps for the child are shared at frequent intervals throughout the child’s time with us.


Each child is assigned a key person who helps to ensure that their learning and care is tailored to meet their needs. The key person supports parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home. The key person also helps families to engage with more specialist support, if appropriate.


7. Safeguarding and welfare procedures


Our safeguarding and welfare procedures are outlined in our safeguarding policy.


8. Monitoring arrangements


This policy will be reviewed and approved by Heather Stephens every year.


At every review, the policy will be shared with the governing board. 


Appendix 1. List of statutory policies and procedures for the EYFS

This checklist lists the policies and procedures that we must have according the EYFS statutory framework.


Statutory policy or procedure for the EYFSWhere can it be found?
Safeguarding policy and procedures

See child protection and safeguarding policy

Procedure for responding to illnessSee health and safety policy
Administering medicines policySee supporting pupils with medical conditions policy
Emergency evacuation procedureSee health and safety policy
Procedure for checking the identity of visitorsSee child protection and safeguarding policy
Procedures for a parent failing to collect a child and for missing childrenSee child protection and safeguarding policy
Procedure for dealing with concerns and complaintsSee complaints policy


A positive, purposeful and enthusiastic atmosphere

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