The Early Years Foundation Stage

The EYFS curriculum meets the requirements set out in the revised National Curriculum at Foundation Stage. In the Early Years, the curriculum focusses on the Early Learning Goals, which are designed as a guide for practitioners to use to assess children’s learning at the end of EYFS. On entry to Nursery and Reception, the practitioners will complete a baseline assessment to record children’s current knowledge on entry. Furthermore, the practitioners will complete assessments throughout the year to assess the children’s current learning and provide provision for all children that require extra support.

Pedagogy and the Environment

At Willoughby Road Primary Academy, we strongly follow the ethos of the Early Excellence Pedagogy, which focuses on the development of learning through inspirational teaching and learning. All practitioners teach skills through offering children the opportunity to play as well as develop a love of curiosity. Practitioners follow the interests of the children and enhance learning provisions in line with this and what the season depicts. This provides children with the opportunity, not only to acquire enthusiasm for learning, but to enhance their communication and language development. Practitioners intervene and develop the children’s play in line with the Early Learning Goals.

The Early Years Foundation Stage at Willoughby Road Academy includes a Nursery and two Reception classrooms. The whole unit can also be used as one large open space and during extended provision time the children are able to use all areas to develop all their skills from PSE to maths in this area, through their play. The environment is enhanced based on the needs of the children daily and predominantly with natural resources. We also have a large outdoor area which is available for all children within Nursery and Reception. We give children the chance to develop both gross and fine motor skills within their independent learning and through the planned provisions provided by the practitioners based upon areas for development of gaps within children’s learning and development.


What is ELS?
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen phonics programme. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words. Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers.

How do we teach phonics?

  • We use a simple, consistent approach to teaching phonics.
  • Your child will experience the same classroom routines within each lesson which reduces cognitive load and maximises the chances of success.
  • All children are supported within the lesson to use their new phonic knowledge independently.
  • In every single ELS lesson, your child will make the direct application to reading.
  • Daily Phonics sessions- these start from the beginning of Reception
  • Phonics throughout the day to review new sounds & graphemes taught
  • Lots of opportunities for oral blending- c/oa/t
  • Opportunities for writing- new grapheme, words and sentences.


Tapestry is an online, learning journal where practitioners and parents can work collaboratively to highlight the progress, development and personal milestones achieved by children. Practitioners will upload observations of the children at school based on the learning taking place. The observations are then linked to the statements and ages expectations, there are then celebrated with parents too. Parents have the ability to log on to tapestry, view these observations and have a dialogue with practitioners. We feel this important, as it strengthens the communication between school and home. We also encourage parents to upload their own milestones of their children, which can be celebrated in school.