Early Years Foundation Stage Policy



Review Date

February 2019

 Review Cycle


 Review Due

 February 2021

 Author / Owner

Beverley Taylor – EYFS Leader 



United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:  Article 

The named Governor for the EYFS is: Jane Burrows

The Purpose

The purpose of this document is to communicate with the whole school community, the LEA, Governors and parents the beliefs of Winchelsea School regarding the Early Years Foundation Stage; and how these are implemented in our setting in accordance with Department for Education statutory and non-statutory guidelines. 


This document has been compiled by the EYFS Leader, the Head teacher, and with contributions from parents, management, teachers, governors and support staff.  Most importantly evidence from the children has informed and molded this document from evidence of their engagement, well-being, happiness, and progression in their social and academic learning, their independence and drive, resilience, and language and communication development. 

This document links with the whole school improvement plan through the drive for the best outcomes for our children in all aspects of their lives; and also links with policies regarding health and safety, safeguarding, equal opportunities, inclusion, cultural diversity, EAL and other curriculum policies including phonics and mathematics.

Aims of the EYFS

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to achieve their full potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure safe and happy childhood is important in its’ own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. Parents need to know, and have a right to expect, that their children will be safe and be able to thrive. Children have a right, spelled out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to provision which enables them to develop their personalities, talents and abilities irrespective of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities or gender (DfE 2012). The Statutory Framework and Non Statutory ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ provide that assurance; and it is our aim to ensure that this framework is delivered effectively, efficiently and appropriately for our children.   Through this document we aim to communicate the values and beliefs of Winchelsea School with regard to the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Our beliefs

At Winchelsea we believe that children in the EYFS learn best through activities that are child initiated, that are purposeful and well resourced, open ended, appropriate to their developmental level and needs, and are supported by quality and purposeful adult interactions and guidance when appropriate.  We believe that the whole child should always be considered, and therefore that learning and development is observed, planned for, and assessed in a holistic manner.  We believe that children learn best in environments that are relevant and of interest to them, and these include learning within environments outside of the classroom including the community and the wider social area – real life learning.  We believe that all children can succeed and that we expect them to succeed; and that children are always encouraged to ‘have a go’ enabling them to build resiliance.  We believe that our children can and should contribute and be part of our society, and that the skills, morals, and beliefs that they will develop will be of value to our society.  In partnership with parents and carers we enable the children to begin the process of becoming active learners for life.


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year.  At Winchelsea Special School, children join the Reception class in the year that they turn five unless their parents wish to defer entry to January or until they are statutory school age.  In our school, we extend this to include children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.  This decision is always made on a ‘needs’ basis, where any particular child would benefit from an extended period of foundation stage learning. 

We endeavour to ensure that children “learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.”  We aim to support children in their learning through “teaching and experiences that give children the broad range of skills that provide the right foundation for good progress through school and in life.” (Statutory Framework for the EYFS 2018)  

The EYFS at Winchelsea follows the guidance of DfE Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage; and complies with the statutory welfare guidance.  “Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them” (DfE 2012).

Welfare entitlement

We understand that we are required to: 

  • Promote the welfare of children.
  • Promote good health, preventing the spread of infection and taking appropriate action when children are ill.
  • Manage behaviour effectively in a manner appropriate for the children’s stage of development and individual needs.
  • Ensure all adults who look after the children or who have unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so.
  • Ensure that the premises, furniture and equipment is safe and suitable for purpose
  • Ensure that every child receives enjoyable and challenging learning and development experiences tailored to meet their needs.
  • Maintain records, policies and procedures required for safe efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children.
  • Ensure that all children’s intimate care needs are appropriately managed and recorded, providing opportunities to develop appropriate independence within this area of need.

We endeavour to meet all these requirements.

Health and Safety

At Winchelsea School there are clear procedures for assessing risk (see whole school risk assessment policy) which includes procedures for keeping children safe during off site visits and for any aspects of the environment or provision that may require a further risk assessment.  In addition to this, an annual risk assessment is conducted of the classroom area, back garden and playground.

Leadership and Management

The EYFS Leader is Beverley Taylor, and she has responsibility for the implementation and management of the statutory and non-statutory documentation used at Winchelsea in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  This is through discussion with the Head Teacher, the Primary Leader, and regular meetings and monitoring from the LEA.  The EYFS Leader is responsible to the Head Teacher and the Governors.  The EYFS Leader attends regular meetings and receives supervision from Adam Bradford (Winchelsea School)

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage

The EYFS is a vitally important stage of development, where children are learning, developing, rehearsing and implementing skills that will be required for their future learning and lives.  The EYFS builds on what children already know, understand and can do; and values parents as the child’s first and continuing educator.

The Early Years Foundation Stage leads towards attainment of the Early Learning Goals via the developmental phases, with an agreed syllabus for RE alongside this.   There are 7 areas of learning comprising of the prime and the specific areas as detailed in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.  

Prime areas: These develop in response to relationships and experiences, and support learning in all other areas.  They are:

  • Personal, Social, Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

Specific areas: The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge; and grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning.  They are:  

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Understanding the World

None of these areas are delivered in isolation from the others.  They are equally important and interact with and depend on each other.  All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led, adult initiated and child initiated activities.  There are Early Learning Goals within each area that defines the expectations for most typically developing children to reach by the end of the EYFS.

Additionally, the way in which children learn is critical to learning and development across all the areas, and support the child in becoming and remaining an effective and motivated learner. 

These are called the Characteristics of Effective Learning, and are:

  • Playing and exploring (engagement)
  • Active learning (motivation)
  • Creating and thinking critically (thinking)

The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the prime and specific areas of Learning and Development are all interconnected. 

The EYFS is based upon four underpinning principles: 

  • A unique child – developing resilient, capable, confident and self-assured individuals.
  • Positive relationships – supporting the children in becoming strong and independent.
  • Enabling environments – where opportunities and experiences respond to the individual needs of the child by developing a strong partnership between practitioners, parents/carers and the child.
  • Learning and developing – An acknowledgement that children learn in different ways and at different rates.

1.A Unique Child

We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways, at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration/ sharing assemblies and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.

All children and their families are valued at Winchelsea School. Children are treated as individuals and have equal access to all provisions available.  All children are encouraged to achieve their personal best and planning is adapted to meet the needs of all groups and abilities.  Assessments take into account contributions from a range of perspectives to ensure that any child with potential special educational needs is identified at the earliest possible opportunity.  

We meet the needs of all our children through:

  • Planning opportunities that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence;
  • Using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs;
  • Providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children and to help them learn effectively;
  • Providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued;
  • Using resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and stereotyping;
  • Planning challenging activities for all children differentiated appropriately.
  • Monitoring children’s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary.

In order to accommodate the individual’s particular learning style experiences and activities will be planned wherever possible in a multi-sensory way so that the various activities will cater for all children.  There will also be a consideration of how to record outcomes, achievements and attainment so that the pupil is offered a variety of methods and is not inhibited by any specific difficulty.  

Equal Opportunities

All members of the school are treated as individuals. We aim to meet the needs of all, taking account of gender, ability, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, sexual orientation, age, special educational needs, disability, and social circumstances.  All staff are aware of the need for the curriculum to reflect cultural diversity and the need to prepare pupils for life in a diverse and multi-faith society. 

2.Positive Relationships

At Winchelsea we recognise that children learn to be strong independent from secure relationships. We aim to develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with the children and their families. 

Parents as Partners

We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value the contribution they make. We recognise the role that parents have played, and their future role, in educating the children. We do this through:

  • Talking to parents about their child before their child starts in our school.
  • the children have the opportunity to spend time with their teacher before starting school during transfer sessions;
  • Support children through the transition from pre-school to Reception with the children attending part time during the first three weeks. This is also to support staff and parents in getting to know each other as well as the children.  
  • Visits to children’s’ current settings are carried out in the summer term.
  • Inviting all parents to an induction meeting during the term before their child starts school and again during the first half term of the child’s Reception year in order to detail how we aim to work with their child particularly in relation to reading and phonics
  • We follow a child’s and parents lead to ensure a child starts school full time when they are ready physically and emotionally.
  • Encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher if there are any concerns. There is a formal meeting for parents three times a year at which the teacher and the parent discuss the child’s progress in private with the teacher.
  • Parents receive a report on their child’s attainment and progress at the end of each school year. This will show the child’s progression towards the Early Learning Goals and a summary of their Characteristics of Learning.
  • A range of activities are provided throughout the year which encourage collaboration between child, school and parents: play sessions, celebration assemblies, open door policy, coffee mornings, invitations to participate in community visits, invitations to participate in circle times.
  • Providing parents an opportunity to celebrate their child’s learning and development by completing “home/school celebration” moments which inform planning and provision.
  • Written contact through home school diary as well as the acknowledgement that parents can ring school to contact key workers.
  • Children are provided with a scrap book to be filled in by both parents and children of events that take place in their lives such as birthdays, weddings, celebrations. We also encourage mementoes from days out, photographs of children at home and participating in activities of their choice.  Information regarding activities that will be done in school each week, and home/school learning is also recorded in here. 
  • Ensuring all parents know that their child’s teacher and teaching assistant are their key workers 
  • Providing a quiet and confidential area where parents are able to discuss any concerns.
  • A newsletter is given to parents each term detailing activities that all children in the school have been participating in, and a weekly notification of activities that week.
  • Working with external agencies and parents
  • Home visits when appropriate
  • Parent workshops e.g. cooking, parenting, Early Bird, Signalong when appropriate.
  • Inviting parents to school to demonstrate, for example, behaviour management, promoting independence, and differentiating communication.

3.Enabling Environments

At Winchelsea School we recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development.  We aim to create an attractive and stimulating learning environment that is dynamic, reflects the children’s interests, is purposeful for learning skills and knowledge, and where children have opportunities to explore, feel confident, secure and challenged. 

The Learning Environment

  • Areas where children can be active, or quiet and rest
  • Classroom is set up in discrete areas of learning. This set up is not rigid but fluid and enhanced relating to continual CIL assessment and evaluation, and observations and assessments of children’s needs, access and interests.
  • Most resources are labelled, and are easily accessible to children
  • An outside area that is accessible to children every day, regardless of the weather. This has a positive effect on children’s development as it offers opportunities for doing things in different ways, and on different scales than when indoors.  It offers the children opportunities to explore, use their senses and by physically active and exuberant.
  • The classroom has a central gathering area which is quiet and supported with the use of visual timetables, behaviour support strategies, and communication aides.
  • A bathroom area where children have access to toilets, hand washing facilities, and a bath when necessary
  • Washing machine and tumble dryer to ensure children are kept comfortable and hygienic.
  • Visual support symbols throughout the classroom
  • Display boards celebrating children’s learning and achievement
  • A breadth of activities that may include sand, water, role play, listening, construction, books, games and puzzles, writing, small world, number, technology, cookery, painting, sensory and creative activities, and opportunities for sharing.
  • Disabled access to the classroom and outside area
  • An area to support sensory needs
  • Each child has their own drawer, box, intimate care storage, and peg.

4.Learning and Development

At Winchelsea School we recognise that children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates.  We value all areas of learning and development equally and understand that they are interconnected.  

Teaching and Learning Style

  • Play based learning is paramount and children direct their own learning from carefully planned purposeful opportunities provided by staff with opportunities to develop skills and knowledge. Staff will enhance play and extend as needed to further individual learning.  Play is the most essential vehicle for learning and children’s development. 

Winchelsea School has a play policy in addition to EYFS policy.

  • The range of approaches used are predominantly child initiated and provide first hand experiences. However, some children at Winchelsea School struggle with self-initiated play, and so a balance between supported play and child initiated play is practised.  
  • Through careful assessments and observations, including information provided by parents and other settings, children’s development levels are assessed. The balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas.  At Winchelsea School the majority of children face challenges within the prime areas, and so the balance remains for a significant period of time on these areas. 
  • Effective teaching and learning builds and extends upon prior learning and following children’s interests. Children’s interests and experiences are observed, monitored and evaluated to ensure that effective planning is informed thereby ensuring that current interests and experiences are nurtured.     
  • Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and a balance between adult led activities, adult guided activities (non-negotiable), and adult initiated, and supported play. Play is used as an essential part children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. As the year progresses the balance between these activities changes depending on the needs of the children. The children lead their learning. 
  • Adult initiated activities are open ended, with the development of a skill at the heart of the activity. They are designed to allow children to follow their own interest within an area of learning, to ebb and flow between a desired outcome and child initiated outcome.
  • Adult guided/led activities are non-negotiable, and are specifically targeted to a particular skill.
  • Systems and routines are in place to provide safety, security, develop confidence and selfesteem, knowledge and understanding and independence.

Observation, planning and assessment

Children’s interests and experiences are gained from observation, a look, listen and note of how the children are engaged, what is motivating them, and how well they are achieving.  These observations are recorded and analysed in the children’s learning journey.  The Learning Journey is also contributed to by parents, and the wider school community.  These observations inform future planning and reflect identified needs.

A long term plan based around themes and outlining objectives is constructed.  From this a medium term plan each half term is created.  However it is vital that children’s interests’ drive their learning and this therefore is a dynamic document that can change in response to children’s needs, achievement and interests day by day.  A weekly plan is written, but again, this is driven by observations of children’s engagement, interest, motivation and achievement, and activities and outcomes as a result of these are recorded through a spontaneous planning document.

Recording of formative assessment identifies what the child has done, what areas of the learning and development the child is demonstrating achievement in and at what level, what Characteristics of Learning the child is demonstrating, achievable targets, and potential future activities, experiences ad next steps that could be provided.   The Developmental Phases leading towards the early learning goals are used.  The recording forms include: 

  • Child initiated learning
  • Play record
  • Focused and adult initiated task records
  • Learning story

Additionally note is taken of the Characteristics of Effective Learning, and use of the Leuvens Scale of Wellbeing and Involvement.  This enables progress to be shown in other areas other than academic achievement.

Evidence takes the form of:

  • Photographs
  • Bubble ups
  • Home/school celebrations
  • Scrap books and home school link books
  • Talk books
  • Displays
  • Feedback from the wider school community
  • Parents visits
  • Reviews and CIN meetings
  • IEP’s
  • Behaviour ladders
  • Staff knowledge and understanding
  • Non-negotiable targeted work books

At Winchelsea School we have adopted an On Entry Assessment to record judgements against the EYFS Profile.  Each child’s level of development is recorded during the first 3 weeks in school. These are recorded on an individual developmental tracker, are updated in the spring and summer term, and are kept in each child’s individual file.  Recorded assessment is kept in the child’s learning journey and is available to the child to explore at any time. 

Any concerns that are identified are reported to and acted upon by the relevant department within school, and if necessary external agencies contacted.

Learning Plans are created in the form of Pupil Plan Targets, outcomes from EHCP’s, the Characteristics of Learning, community visit outcomes related to the needs and desires of the child’s family, and bespoke outcomes from our own knowledge and understanding of the child.  

Learning plans are dynamic and can be added to at any time.  They reflect the progress a child makes.  Learning Plans indicate whether a child has engaged with, participated in or can independently perform a specific skill.  Additionally they note whether this skill can be performed in multiple contexts and consistently.  It is unlikely that a child would be deemed proficient within multiple contexts and consistently within one class, and this would be consolidated in the next class. 

Summative assessment regarding progression towards the Early Learning Goals is discussed with parents during parent’s evenings and other times when deemed necessary, and is formally reported to parents during the summer term as exceeded, attainment of or emerging towards the Early Learning Goals. 

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Monitoring of the EYFS is performed by the EYFS Leader, and through discussion with the Head Teacher, Supervision Manager (Adam Bradford) and the Early Years Advisor from the Borough of Poole.
  • Monitoring is carried out as part of the whole school monitoring schedule.
  • Discussions are held with staff within the classroom environment continually, to evaluate and reflect on the practice, use of the environment, resources, deployment of staff, safety, and understanding of the EYFS Developmental Matters; and these are amended accordingly.
  • An action plan is created annually, and links with the whole school improvement plan
  • A self-evaluation of the EYFS within Ofsted framework is performed annually as part of the whole school SIP and SEF
  • Observations of teaching and support within the EYFS is performed within school guidelines, and at other times when appropriate. Feedback from observations is reflected and acted upon.
  • Moderating of children’s work is performed as a class team, as a school, and as part of a special school network group, and is externally moderated by the Borough of Poole to confirm consistency in moderation across the Borough.
  • All staff within the EYFS and the wider school community including parents contribute to assessment of children’s work to ensure breadth and depth of understanding of children’s learning and development
  • The named Governor who is responsible for the EYFS will discuss the practice with the practitioners regularly and provide feedback to the whole governing body, raising any issues that require discussion.


  • Teachers and teaching assistants provide the curriculum in the EYFS. The class size can be variable depending on the needs of the children attending the school; and staffing ratios are adjusted accordingly.  
  • The EYFS teacher is a qualified teacher with extensive experience of the EYFS
  • Teaching assistants are selected for their empathy, desire and motivation, and teaching and supporting styles.
  • Teachers and teaching assistants have regularly updated training.  There is a qualified paediatric first aider within the classroom.


From Pre-school /Feeder settings

During the summer term prior to a child’s entry into the Reception year, the following procedures have been put into place to ensure successful transition

  • Parents are invited to a meeting to ensure they know about school procedures and allocation of classes and any concerns they may want to express.
  • During the summer term parents are encouraged to complete an “all about me” booklet. It is used during the autumn term to support transition and to inform planning.  
  • A ‘Welcome to Ocean Class’ booklet is sent home with the child, and one sent to the child’s current setting. This booklet details who is in the class (staff and peers), photographs of Ocean Class, and activities that can be found within the setting.
  • The children are invited to two separate visits to Ocean Class, the EYFS. One of these visits is without parents, and one is with the child’s current key worker within their preschool setting.
  • Members of staff from Winchelsea School make visits to feeder settings.  
  • Members of staff from Winchelsea School will make home visits when possible.
  • The Winchelsea school transition document is used throughout to record the above.

From Ocean Class to next class

During the final term in Reception, the EYFS Profile is completed for each child and a summary of the child’s Characteristics of Learning and their Learning Plan. The Profile provides parents and carers, staff and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels, and their readiness for the next year. The Profile includes on-going 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 is assessed against the early learning goals. The profile indicates whether children are meeting expected levels of development, or if they are exceeding expected levels, or not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’).  A discussion held with the Head Teacher, SLT, and parents to decide on the appropriate setting for the following year, and this may be a further year in Ocean Class, the EYFS.  If a class move is deemed appropriate, the next teacher is given a copy of the Profile report, Learning Plan and Characteristics of Learning. This informs the dialogue between the EYFS and future teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs and assists with the planning of activities for the following year.  

Liaison with the Community

  • The EYFS has strong links with the community, and many local businesses welcome the class to their environments and provide learning opportunities for the children e.g. local retail outlets (purchasing goods with patience!, resources given), providing areas for lunches, the local Church (St Marys – Longfleet, St Peters – Lower Parkstone, St Aldhelms), and natural environments such as the beach, local parks and woods, and further afield for horse riding and local historic environments.  Visits from health care professionals
  • The EYFS has good links with the PTA
  • Ocean class experience time within the wider community every week, developing social skills, appropriate behaviour, and an understanding of safety in addition to Learning and Development within the prime and specific areas and bespoke outcomes related to a deep understanding of the child by staff and parents.
  • At all stages parents are involved with outcomes for their child.


  • It is the responsibility of the EYFS teacher and leader to follow the principles stated in this policy.
  • This policy is reviewed every two years in accordance with Winchelsea School guidelines, or earlier if appropriate.
  • The policy will be reviewed by the EYFS Leader, the Head Teacher, and the Primary Leader.


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