High View school is in an area with high social deprivation. We are constantly reviewing, researching and updating our practice in order to ensure that we provide our children with the best possible education so that all children can achieve to the best of their ability, to be independent learners with lifelong skills to enable them to succeed in our world.
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
– Sydney J. Harris
As a result of our data analysis, feedback from our School Readiness Best Practice Survey and research into improving continuous provision we are making significant changes to further improve our provision and children’s learning. Areas to further improve: level of higher achievers ie children to reach exceeding, continue to improve Literacy and to raise our GLD and the progress of all children assessed at 30-50 at baseline to expected level.
We have developed our transition arrangements over time to ensure that we have an accurate baseline for each child. We involve parents from the outset; gauging their opinion and ensuring they are aware of their child’s targets and development needs to enable them to work with us in the education of their child.
- visit to setting by parents/carers
- home visit
- Parents visit with children until children are ready to be independent
- Parent phonics meeting/curriculum
- visits to setting from nursery
- new parents meeting-packs given to parent/carer and child
- new parents curriculum/phonics
- home visit offered
- meeting with parent for Baseline in first term (pro forma for parents to fill in to bring to meeting), Child’s Key person takes an active part ensuring good relations are established from the outset
Structure of day FS1
The structure of our day has developed over many years and we now have the best possible structure to meet the needs of our children to ensure the most effective use is made of time for learning. Over the course of the year the structure develops to include more/longer adult led sessions to ensure that the children are ready to enter KS1/school ready.
Adult led sessions have flexible groupings to ensure that the children are always challenged at an appropriate level. Learning is planned discretely for emerging, expected and exceeding levels of development.
How Continuous provision research has impacted on our practice:
The FS Team shared the book ‘Continuous Provision’ by Alistair Bryce-Clegg as well as reading TES articles, ECAT research, Learning, Playing and Interacting, discussion of Ofsted best practice films, The Inspection handbook and Outdoor Learning Through the Seasons; in order to ensure children are making the most effective use of their learning time.
An area audit was carried out to identify use and frequency of use of areas in the setting. Through this we established how the areas were being used by boys, girls and how frequently. The evaluation of this data highlighted ‘stagnant’ areas of the setting which the FS team discussed as to why. Skills workshops were introduced to further teach skills that children needed to access specific areas for example the use of joining techniques in the craft area. Targeted resources for boys/girls were added to areas to encourage boys/girls to access specific areas more frequently-for example developing our role play area as a bakers, adding writing materials to our writing area for boys such as clipboards with boy friendly writing frames. Areas have differentiated resources to enable all children emerging, expected, or exceeding to be challenged and to be able to practise skills. See continuous provision overviews.
Continuous provision overviews were added to each area to explain how each area is set up for emerging, expected and exceeding children these are up levelled as the children develop their abilities across the year. These overviews also show some of the enhanced provision that is added at different times of the year for different themed learning.
Challenge cards were introduced to ensure children are challenged to achieve their targets through continuous provision.
The language of learning is used at all times with the children. The children are challenged throughout the continuous provision sessions by being asked “what are you learning?” Focussed sessions, each week, are used for the children to discuss what they have learned and what they would like/need to learn next.
Children are encouraged to take risks in their learning in all areas of the curriculum. The language for learning, (our whole school ethos of building learning power) links specifically with aspects of the Characteristics of Effective Learning. Children are encouraged to make intelligent interruptions during teaching times as these help to develop learning further.
FS plans two themes for each long term. We use a theme approach to ensure that all children are able to develop a wide range of vocabulary and have a range of learning opportunities and experiences and to be able to link curriculum areas with a creative approach. This approach is vital to the children in order to enrich their life experiences. Alongside our themes we add PLODs and follow these depending on children’s interest.
Parental involvement across the year
- share home/school target
- parent meeting each term
- assemblies with visits back to class to share Learning Journeys
- Specific sessions to share Learning Journeys
- regular parental newsletters
- regular parent workshops
Our approach to baseline ensures that we get an accurate picture of each child.
On entry to FS children are assessed against the development matters statements through a variety of observations and adult directed activities. FS2 have a parent meeting in which the parent is asked to baseline their child for each area of the curriculum. Evidence for the baseline is collated at the start of each child’s Learning Journey over the first five weeks of the Autumn Term. Across FS we also use the BPVS to assess speech development and monitor progress. FS also assess and monitor pencil grip on an annotated development sheet.
Intervention/basic skills groups are established from this baseline. In our Autumn term we run Blast 1 and 2 with a variety of other groups as identified by the baseline which could include; emotional development, hand writing, counting. This is alongside individual sessions with the Speech Therapy Team. All children have a personalisation plan to ensure their well-being and learning needs are met.
Read Write Inc
In FS, as in the whole school, we use RWI to further raise the standards of reading and writing. This is to ensure skills are taught at a faster pace to allow more time to apply them and thus to raise standards which in turn will impact on our GLD. (Good Level of Development at the end of FS2).
It is crucial to have quality resources both indoors and out and to make use of the whole environment no matter what the weather. We ensure that children respect and look after their environment and have quality learning experiences.
Both the indoor and outdoor areas are set up to reflect all seven areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum.
Some of our resources:
Salt trays for writing, funky fingers activities for enhancing perceptional mobility, story maps, all resources are at children height and have both written and picture labels ensuring they are accessible to all children at all times, resources that reflect home eg sofa, cafe snack, construction, various writing books and boards, magnifiers, mirrors, natural resources, a junk materials box, dressing up clothes, torches…..
Outside learning environment which is well equipped (climbing wall, slide) to promote investigation and risk taking, mini beast area, environmental area, herb area, water fountain, pet rabbit, willow garden, stage, mirrors, water investigation area, water play, sand, mud kitchen, digging area, large scales, outdoor PE equipment. ……
Resources are regularly changed in accordance with PLODS and themes as enhanced provision. Areas have provocations for learning in folders, for example, in the creative area we have pictures of artists work for the children to discuss and as models for their own creations, in the construction area we have pictures of buildings and plans as well as clipboards with square paper for the children to draw their own plans and models.
Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”
– Marilyn Jager Adams
A huge emphasis is placed on reading, stories are shared with the children every day. Each teaching base has a core book box with stories and non-fiction books relating to our theme. These books are read over and over for the children to be able to ‘read’ them themselves or retell them. Story maps are made with the children to help them understand story book language these maps are displayed on the learning walls or made into books as well as being sent home for the children to share with their families. Children love books that are made about them with their picture, name or learning in them. These are made regularly and used as part of our continuous provision. The children all have access to Bug club which can be used at home and is made appropriate for each child. Children are encouraged to take part in our school’s reading challenge as a positive way to encourage children to share more books at home. We regularly visit the local library for stories.
Audits are carried out regularly to ascertain use of areas, as mentioned previously and to inform practice for example audit of quiet/noisy areas. This was carried out to ascertain if the children’s perceptions are the same as the adults for the use of the environment.
Adults are our most valuable resource, we use Pupil Premium funding to facilitate additional adults. These adults are vital for the successful running of our FS in order to fulfil our rationale.
We believe that the availability of a range of quality technological equipment for FS is necessary for children to achieve in UW and enhance learning in other curriculum areas. In our FS we have IWBs, Ipads-with the use of QR codes, and various control toys and equipment, children contribute to blogs on our website and help in the making of films and taking photos.
Learning Journey walls
Each teaching base has a Learning Journey wall, similar to a learning wall in KS1 and 2. We display current learning so that we can frequently refer to what we are learning, are able to add to it as the theme progresses and ensure that the children see that we value their learning.
“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”
– George Bernard Shaw
“Play is the highest form of research”