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Waterwells Primary Academy


Greenshaw Learning Trust Early Years Vision 

We are committed to providing the best possible early education for all our children in Greenshaw Learning Trust.

The unique child

We want our children to be independent thinkers and effective communicators who are capable, confident and self-assured. We want our children to be constantly developing their curiosity and resilience whilst learning to be strong through positive relationships where there is equality of opportunity for all. 

Enabling environments

We believe in providing all children with a safe and stimulating environment that builds on each individual’s wants, needs and interests.We value the importance of our outdoor and indoor environments and believe that these offer children the opportunity to think creatively and critically and develop problem solving skills. 

Learning and development

Our children have the opportunity to learn through play. Learning will be active, engaging and suitably challenging; recognising that children develop and learn at different rates. 

Adults provide high quality interactions, are role models for learning, teach children skills and provide experiences which ensure their well-being and success now and in the future. Fundamental to this is consistently high quality learning opportunities that develop a rich vocabulary, practise and review skills and knowledge so that what children know, can remember and do is strong. Our children benefit from strong partnerships between all adults and parents/carers. 

Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning 

Through playing and exploring we want children to be given opportunities to investigate activities with a ‘have a go’ attitude. We expect learning to be active and encourage children to use their own ideas and make links within their learning by creating and thinking critically.  


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) policy



Structure of the EYFS

Our Reception classes have capacity for thirty children in either one or two Reception classes. These classes follow the structure of the school day.

Our Pre School caters for children from the term after their third birthday.

Each child is entitled to a government-funded space of up to 15 hours and this can be taken as five morning sessions. Session times run from 8.30am -11.30am.


Our early years setting follows the curriculum as outlined in the 2021 EYFS statutory framework.

The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, three areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

The prime areas are:

  • 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

We have developed our own curriculum which is adapted in each setting to meet the needs of the cohort and individual children.

The EYFS curriculum is broad and balanced across the areas of learning, with a high emphasis on language acquisition. The design is coherently planned and sequenced so that knowledge and skills are progressive, built on throughout the year towards an agreed end point, with the aim being that all pupils achieve a good level of development.

  • It is designed with our pupils in mind to equip them with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to be successful.
  • Reading is prioritised to enable pupils to obtain secure phonic knowledge using the RWI Programme to read fluently and to ensure they are ready for the challenges of the KS1 curriculum.


Staff plan activities and experiences for children that enable children to develop and learn effectively. In order to do this, staff working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the three prime areas.

Staff also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.

In planning and guiding children’s activities, staff reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice.


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

The indoor classroom is a calm, purposeful environment using natural backgrounds to make the space feel open and calm and so that children’s work is the main focus. Provocations and activities are set up to promote curiosity and learning. The classrooms are divided into areas to facilitate the delivery of the curriculum. Resources are stored at child height to encourage independence in their learning. Children also have regular use of the school halls and class library.

The children have daily access to safe, enclosed outdoor play areas with planned opportunities supporting the seven areas (unless circumstances make this inappropriate, for example, unsafe weather conditions).

Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore problem solve and develop friendships. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. There is an ongoing judgement to be made by practitioners about the balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by adults.  As children grow older, the balance will shift towards more whole class teaching and group activities led by adults, to children prepare for Year 1. 

Staff respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. In Pre-School, plans are flexible to adapt to circumstances such as a new baby, a visit to hospital or a snowy day. Children are encouraged to be positive about their tasks. The importance of praise is acknowledged in raising self-esteem and every opportunity is taken to do this.

In planning and guiding children’s activities, staff reflect on the different ways that children learn. They then reflect these in their practice. There are three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:

  • Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
  • Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
  • Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

The level of progress children should be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS is defined by the Early Learning goals.


Ongoing assessment is an integral part of learning and development processes. Our staff observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Staff also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers.

When a child is aged between 2 and 3, staff review their progress and provide parents and/or carers with a written summary of the child’s development in the 3 prime areas. This ‘progress check’ highlights the areas in which a child is progressing well and the areas in which additional support is needed.

There is a transition report prepared by pre-school staff that is shared with parents and future Reception teachers at the end of their pre-school year.  

Within the first six weeks when a child starts reception, staff will administer the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA).

At the end of Reception, staff complete 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 this profile are shared with parents and/or carers in the form of the end of year school report.

The profile is moderated internally (referring to the Development Matters guidance) and in partnership with other local schools, to ensure consistent assessment judgements. EYFS profile data is submitted to the local authority.

Working with parents

We recognise that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between staff and parents and/or carers.

Parents and/or carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development. The progress check and EYFS profile helps to provide parents and/or carers with a well-rounded picture of their child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities.

Each Pre-school child will be assigned a key person. Staff will inform parents and/or carers of the name of the key person, and explain their role when a child starts attending a setting. The key person will help ensure that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. The key person will seek to engage and support parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home. They will also help families engage with more specialist support if appropriate.

Reception children will have a named class teacher.

Pre-school children will use Tapestry to create an online learning journey to which parents and carers have a secure log to access their child’s account.

All classes have a Dojo page for notices and information. In Reception, staff and parents will use the child’s profile to share wow moments.

Safeguarding and welfare procedures

We promote good oral health, as well as good health in general, in the early years by encouraging the children to drink water between meals and offering healthy snacks.

 We discuss

  • The effects of eating too many sweet things
  • The importance of brushing your teeth

Food and drink

Snacks and drinks provided are healthy, balanced and nutritious. Children are offered a drink of water or milk. Milk is funded until the child’s fifth birthday. After this parents may use the online system to purchase milk. Children are also offered a piece of fruit or vegetable. Fresh drinking water is available at all times. 


Children can choose from either a school hot meal or bring a packed lunch from home. For safety reasons, no bottles, cans of fizzy drinks or glass-lined (Thermos) flasks are allowed.

Lunches may only be eaten in the normal lunch time.

Sweets or chewing gum are not permitted in school.

We are a NUT FREE school

Safeguarding and welfare procedures are outlined in our safeguarding policy.

Reception curriculum transition

As a Trust we have worked hard to ensure that there is progression from EYFS to each National Curriculum subject. The document below 'EYFS to NC links units' explains this progression.