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Our Curriculum


In Reception we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which is the curriculum until they enter the Primary National Curriculum in Year 1.

There are seven areas of development which the children will be assessed against throughout the year. Children are expected to achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ by the end of the year. This is achieved by meeting the Early Learning Goals which can be found using the curriculum links below.

We work closely with families and other professionals to ensure that all children are given the best opportunities to achieve their fullest potential.

 If you would like to explore our curriculum please click on the attachments below:



Hethersett VC Primary School EYFS curriculum intent


At Hethersett VC Primary School we place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can be successful at university, go on to be active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners. 

Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. 

Due to the disruption caused by Covid, some children are entering school at a lower level than previously expected. We have to teach them how to listen, speak and meet the high expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. As such, we prioritise personal, social and emotional development and communication and language in the Reception curriculum. Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move through Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number.  This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas.  We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through exciting continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and woodland school sessions. Our reviewing and monitoring of the children’s learning and interests means the quality of teaching is high.


Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. 


The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED.  These sessions are followed by an adult guided activity where the children individual skills can be used and monitored. This focus time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.   

Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. Intellectual preparation and co-planning is led by the phase leader every week with short 15 minute ‘child-led’ planning sessions happening three times a week.  During these sessions the teachers reflect on three questions: “What do our focus individuals need to learn or are curious about? What embedded learning have we observed in this area?  What can be changed to exploit the learning and interests of the children/individuals in this area?”  In this way, we ensure that the children have agency over their environment and that the provision leads to depth of learning across the curriculum.  

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Littlle Wandle program faithfully so that they meet good outcomes for reading with the majority of children passing the Year One phonics screening. All staff receive regular CPD and coaching by our Early reading lead so that they can all deliver phonics to a high standard.

We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language.  Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. In reception pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths session where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness.  These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts. 

Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example small nurture groups with some of our vulnerable children or additional ‘keep up’ provision in Phonics. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children. 

Our EYFS meetings are focused on moderating outcomes across the EYFS so that we are confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning. 



Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning.  This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. We choose 5/6 focus children a week to observe and use this information on a weekly basis to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively.   During each assessment window, three times a year, teachers update the progress children have made onto an assessment spreadsheet which allows us to assess the impact of teaching and evaluate whether it has been enough.   Evidence of children’s learning including some observations, work samples, photographs and contributions from parents are kept in paper ‘learning journals’ and tapestry.

Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. Children in our early years, in recent years, arrive with lower starting points than national.  During their time in our EYFS, children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year.  Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year One.  We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.






It is essential transitions are managed with care, consideration and thoughtfulness because of the impact they have on children’s well-being and learning. Transitions are carefully planned and time is given to ensure continuity of learning. We acknowledge the child’s needs and establish effective partnerships with those involved with the child, including Nurseries and childminders.


Visits to Reception are planned for the summer term where the children can meet the staff, get to know other children who will be in their class and begin to familiarise themselves with the setting and expectations. Children are given a transition booklet which includes photographs of key staff and the environment, as well as providing space for the children to share things about themselves. In the summer term Nursery staff meet with the receiving teacher to discuss progress and development of the child. In Reception, the child’s receiving Year 1 teacher will meet with the Early Years staff and discuss each child's development against the Early Learning Goals in order to support a smooth transition to Year 1. This discussion aids the Year 1 teacher in planning an effective, responsive and appropriate curriculum that will meet the needs of all children. We hold a Parents Information meeting for families before their child starts Nursery or School. This gives parents the opportunity to meet staff, get to know routines and become familiar with school expectations. Transition meetings take place at Nursery for every child starting our Nursery setting. These take place during stay and play sessions, where the child has the opportunity to visit the setting whilst their families can share key information about their child.






Learning Journeys and Tapestry


In Giraffe Class, we use Paper learning journeys to document children’s learning and development. Parents will be invited in throughout the year to look at these prior to parents evenings. We also use an online learning journey called Tapestry. This is a fabulous tool for us to share the children’s significant new learning with you and for you to share the things you do at home too.

The children love to share their photos from home with the class and it is a great opportunity for them to develop their confidence, especially when speaking to a large group. 

It is great to see so many of you already engaging  with Tapestry, the children have thoroughly enjoyed sharing their experiences from home with their friends!