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What is A High Quality Early Years Education

The Statutory Framework for the early years foundation stage is mandatory for all early years settings and is the document that Ofsted will base their judgements against. It sets the standards in which all children deserve to have in their first years in education. Here at Blessed John Duckett School we strive to maintain these principles to the highest of standards.

We seek to provide:

  • quality and consistency so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind;


  • a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly;


  • partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers;


  • equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported


Four guiding principles shape our early years setting:

  • 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 framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Our curriculum


There are seven areas of learning that shape the curriculum in early years.


Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.


Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and  movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.


Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.


Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.


Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.


The characteristics of effective learning are:


  • 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.


We cover these areas of learning throughout the day through our continual provision. Our setting is split up into areas both indoors and outdoors. Each is carefully planned to give children access to a range of learning that will cover numerous aspects of the curriculum at the same time to ensure that each child is accessing the curriculum through the things that they enjoy doing.


We also have a weekly timetable of focused activities some of which are targeted at specific groups of children and others that we enjoy as a whole class.


To see our weekly timetable please follow this link.



As a catholic school 10% of our timetable is devoted to RE. At Blessed John Duckett School we follow the Come and See Programme. The programme is designed to help children in their faith journey, to enable them to grow in their religious literacy and understanding that is coherent and current with educational principles. We explore God’s message and love through our own experiences, a deepening understanding of God’s teaching through scripture and traditions and with regular liturgies that help us celebrate God’s love together.


Early Years always attend whole liturgies and masses and we often take an active part in these. Parents are always welcome to attend these.



Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and practitioners to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support.


At Blessed John Duckett School we are continually observing the children throughout their play based activities and through their more formal group sessions. We write observations and take photographs using the 2BuildAProfile App. Each term we share these observations with parents with an individual print out of all observations and photographs made of their child.


We also keep a record of these observations and work completed by the children in their own individual Learning Journey book. This book provides a record of the progress each child has made right from their first day in Nursery till the end of Reception. These books will then be given to parents which makes a lovely keepsake of the work their child has done throughout their time in Early Years.


A more formal record of assessment is kept in individual Foundation Stage Profile books. This is a copy of the Development Matters statements which track the development of learning in each subject. When a child has achieved the statement it will be highlighted. The books give a clear indication of what level a child is at developmentally and the next steps to be taken to achieve more progress. These are always available for parents to view and will always be shared during parents evening or open days.


In Reception children will take part in more formal lessons. Each child then receives a Writing book, a Number book and an RE book to complete work in.


Final Assessment


In the final term of the year in which the child reaches age five, and no later than 30 June in that term, the EYFS Profile must be completed for each child. The Profile provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1. The Profile must reflect: ongoing observation; all relevant records held by the setting; discussions with parents and carers, and any other adults whom the teacher, parent or carer judges can offer a useful contribution.


Each child’s level of development must be assessed against the Early Learning Goals. Practitioners must indicate whether children are meeting expected levels of development, or if they are exceeding expected levels, or not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’).

Communication and language


Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.


Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.


Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas orevents.


Physical development


Moving and handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.


Health and self-care: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.


Personal, social and emotional development


Self-confidence and self-awareness: children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.


Managing feelings and behaviour: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.


Making relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.




Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.


Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.




Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.


Shape, space and measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.


Understanding the world


People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.


The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.


Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.


Expressive arts and design


Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.


Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories


Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Each child in our care is seen as a unique person with their own individual needs. We have systems in place to identify children that may need extra help in certain areas. If this occurs meetings will be held with the parents involving the Early Years teacher and the SENCO to identify exactly what is needed. Referrals may be made to relevant outside agencies and if the need arises, staff will be given specific training on how the needs of the child can be met. Progress will communicated to parents on a regular basis.