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At Palfrey Infant School we believe that every child has potential and that in the right setting with the right experiences all children can achieve.

At Palfrey we believe in these four overarching principles:

  • 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 enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

The Statutory Framework for Early Years specifies there are seven areas of learning and at Palfrey we ensure exposure for all children to these areas, in all elements of their learning experiences and environment. Our curriculum is designed to meet all areas of the curriculum in a thorough, sequenced way to ensure children build and deepen the foundations of their early learning.

The seven areas of learning are:

Prime areas of learning:

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

Specific areas of learning:

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

The framework also details the characteristics of effective learning. These underpin achievement in the prime and specific areas of learning and play a central role in a child becoming an effective learner. At Palfrey Infant School, our curriculum is focussed on providing opportunities to develop these characteristics in all areas. The characteristics are as follows:

By playing and exploring:

  • Finding out and exploring
  • Using what they know in their play
  • Being willing to have a go

Through active learning:

  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping on trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

By creating and thinking critically:

  • Having their own ideas
  • Using what they already know to learn new things
  • Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways

Because we understand that children develop and learn in different ways, we ensure that different strategies are used so that all children can make excellent progress. This includes whole class taught sessions, small group work, withdrawal groups with TA support, child-initiated learning where staff step into their learning to deepen understanding and offer further challenge.

Our intent is that all children will develop their knowledge and skills across the curriculum to set them up for future success in their learning, having built a deep, secure understanding of the foundations of curriculum learning. We aim for all children to be ready to continue their school journey on the National Curriculum by the end of their Reception year.


We have structured our curriculum in EYFS around core literary texts and themed topics to engage and structure learning in a precise and succinct way. Each half-term children engage with a varied range of high-quality texts and all areas of learning are woven into these themes. Topics build on knowledge and skills from Nursery into Reception giving Reception children the chance to recall their knowledge from their time in Nursery. This also gives the children a foundation for accessing the National Curriculum in Year 1. Staff are aware of where the children are in their learning, what they should know and should have retained and therefore be able to recall and what they are being prepared for too when they access the National Curriculum. 

Because of the low attainment of the children who start in Nursery, we ensure that staff have high expectations and a broad and ambitious curriculum is in place which focuses on high quality interactions between all staff and children.

The day-to-day offer for our children is that all children, every day, are taught:

  • Phonics – sessions are delivered by well trained staff and children are grouped according to their ability so all children can make rapid progress.
  • Writing – Where children are taught how to put their phonic knowledge into practise and how to get their ideas down onto paper so that is can be read by themselves and others.
  • Maths – Basic maths skills
  • Reading – children are taught the basic book skills, building up respect for books and a love of reading.
  • Outdoor Learning – Children have the opportunity to put into practise the skills that they have been learning inside in the outdoor environment.

Each class in Reception has 30 children with a teacher and a teaching assistant in each class. This ensures that adults and children can form positive, consistent relationships which enables the best learning to take place.

Adults are also aware on how to interact with the children to draw these skills out of them whilst they are engaging in the environment during child-initiated play.


The impact of our EYFS curriculum is that all children are happy, thriving and confident and are prepared for their next stage in their learning, Year 1 moving away from the Early Learning Goals and working on the National Curriculum.

Nursery will ensure that children are learning the basic non-negotiables as outlined in the planning, devised by teachers, subjects leads and phase leaders in order for children to build on their knowledge throughout their time at Palfrey Infant School. This is also supported with the Development Matters document.

Teachers in reception will build on the foundations of nursery planning, recalling information from the previous year with a clear focus on how to prepare the children for the Year 1 curriculum. This will be assessed over time through pupil voice and on-going assessments by class teachers, subject leaders, phase leaders and the Head and Deputy, showing that the children are recalling key knowledge from previous lessons and year groups using low stakes knowledge retrieval and recall using learning journal posters along with knowledge organisers.

All adults in the EYFS will use teaching in the moment to draw out the children’s knowledge to support assessments on what the children have retained and where their learning needs to go next. TAs will feedback to teachers in order to support planning and therefore the needs of the children.

At Palfrey we measure progress and children’s learning through formative and summative assessment which is based on the adults’ knowledge of the child, using their learning journeys, posters and knowledge organisers.

When arriving at Palfrey Infant School the children’s starting point is much lower than national. During their time in our EYFS children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation of GLD at the end of the phase. Staff in the EYFS have good knowledge and experience of where the children need to be by the end of Reception and have high expectations of all pupils. Because of this most children make excellent progress from their personal starting points. In order to support staff in those high expectations the EYFS lead, Deputy and Head complete pupil progress meetings termly with each teacher/ key worker to identify any children who are starting to fall behind to begin a short-term intervention in order to close the gaps.

We ensure that our judgements are accurate through internal moderation with our EYFS team, subject leads and SLT. We also complete external moderation where we moderate as a cluster with other EYFS staff.

More information can be found on the Department for Education website: 

Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework

EYFS Development Matters