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Early Years

Lady Joanna Thornhill’s

(Endowed) Primary School

Bridge St, Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5EA

tel: 01233 812781 email:







Responsible People named in this Policy

Head Teacher – Phil Chantler


EYFS Leader – Amanda Butler


Chair of Govenors – Kate Freeman


Date: November 2019


Date for Statement review: November 2020




At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School, we are strongly committed to the value that the Early Years Foundation Stage plays in the development of children’s learning and their foundations for future life. 

‘ Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfill their 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.’    (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile – Department for Children, Schools and Families 2012)



At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary we are dedicated to ensuring that our children develop as independent and collaborative learners. We endeavor to develop a deep love of learning and a thirst for enquiry. It is essential that we provide a curriculum that enables each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and creatively to their full potential.

At Lady J we aim to ensure:

That children access a broad and balanced curriculum that gives them the broad range of knowledge and skills needed for good progress through school and life

Quality and consistency in teaching and learning so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind, assessing their individual needs, valuing what they can do and ensuring all progress.

To provide a happy, safe, stimulating and challenging environment for the children to experience as they begin their journey through school.

Close partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers,

Every child is included and supported through equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice


Lady Joanna Thornhill

This policy is based on requirements set out in the 2017 statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year. At Lady Joanna Thornhill, children join the Reception class in the year that they turn five. In partnership with parents and carers we ensure that children “learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.” We aim to support children in their learning through giving children the range of skills and experiences that foster a love of learning and that provide the right foundation for good progress through school and in life.

The EYFS is based upon these 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 by understanding the characteristics of learning i.e active learning, playing and exploring, creating and thinking critically





  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 times and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.


Inclusion/Special Educational Needs (SEND)

All children and their families are valued at Lady Joanna Thornhill. 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. Early identification of special needs is crucial to enable staff to support the development of each child. Concerns are always discussed with parents/carers at an early stage. (Please see SEND policy and the school information report).

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 to 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 children whose ability and understanding are in advance of their language and communication skills;
  • Making lessons and activities fun, interactive and evoke awe and wonder.
  • Monitoring children’s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary.

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




It is important to us that all children in the school are ‘safe’. We aim to educate children on boundaries, rules and limits and to help them understand why they exist. We provide children with choices to help them develop this important life skill. Children should be allowed to take risks, but need to be taught how to recognise and avoid hazards. We aim to protect the physical and psychological well-being of all children.

At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School we understand that we are legally required to comply with certain welfare requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage. We understand that we are required to:

  • Promote the welfare and safeguarding 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.



  1. Positive Relationships

At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School we recognise that children learn to be strong in independence from having secure relationships in place. 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
  • encouraging parents to support their child’s independence by providing them with information of functional tasks will help their child to prepare for school
  • Support children through the transition from pre-school to Reception with the children attending home visits, transition afternoons, story times and picnics in the Summer term before they are due to start school and then In the September term, attending mornings or afternoons for the two weeks. This is also to support staff and parents in getting to know each other as well as the children.
  • Inviting all parents to regular home learning afternoons and workshops during the Reception year in order to detail how we aim to work with their child particularly in relation to Communication and Language, Physical Development, Phonics, Literacy and Maths.
  • Encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher if there are any concerns. There is a formal meeting for parents twice a year at which the teacher and the parent discuss the child’s progress in private with the teacher and teaching assistant. Parents also receive two interim reports and a full report about their child’s attainment and progress. Teachers also have an open door policy being available to see parents daily before school and after school as appropriate.
  • Providing parents an opportunity to celebrate their child’s learning and development by coming into school to share their work and add milestones to their child’s own All About Me book and other opportunities throughout the year.



  1. Enabling Environments


We aim to create an attractive and stimulating learning environment following on from the guidance received from Early Excellence where children feel confident and secure and challenged. The children have daily access to an indoor and outdoor environment that is set up with planned continuous provision and enhanced with discrete learning opportunities, allowing imagination to grow. Effective learning builds and extends upon prior learning and following children’s interest. Effective planning is informed by observations of the children to ensure we follow their current interests and experiences. Play based learning is paramount and children direct their own learning from carefully planned opportunities provided by staff. Staff will enhance play, scaffold and extend as needed to further individual learning.










  1. Learning and Development

There are seven areas of learning and development and seventeen aspects within them.  These are divided into Prime areas of learning and Specific areas of learning. The Prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS.

The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning. (Development Matters in the EYFS)


The Prime areas are:


  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development.




The specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the world and
  • Expressive arts and design


Teaching staff plan activities and experiences for children that enable children to develop and learn effectively. In order to do this, practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the 3 prime areas.

Teachers also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.

In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice.

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.

As children grow older, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for year 1.



At Lady Joanna, ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Practitioners also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers. Through these careful assessments and observations, children’s development levels are assessed.

Observations are recorded and shared with parents using Tapestry, an on line recording system, which also enables evidence to be recorded and used for moderation purposes, showing a child’s individual progress, attainment and development across the profile. Parents are also encouraged to share their observations on Tapestry to provide a  well-rounded view of the child both in school and outside of school.  


On entry to school all children will have a Baseline Assessment. During this Baseline assessment the children’s levels of well-being and involvement are assessed alongside levels for Personal Social and Emotional Development Communication Language and Literacy, Reading, Writing, Number and Space Shape and Measure. All assessments are undertaken through observation. This Baseline assessment will inform future differentiated planning for each child and help to monitor individual progress.

Planning and Teacher initiated and directed children’s activities will reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. It is essential that the Characteristics of Effective Learning underpin all our Early Years Practise.



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.

(Taken from statutory framework for the EYFS 2012)


At the end of the EYFS, staff complete the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 early learning goals, indicating whether they are:

Meeting expected levels of development

Exceeding expected levels or,

Not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’)

A record of their Characteristics of Effective Learning is shared with parents and school staff

in Year one as part of the transition process.


The profile reflects ongoing observations and discussions with parents and/or carers. The results of the profile are then shared with parents and/or carers.



From Pre-school /Feeder settings

At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School we value all the opportunities to share information and learn about the children from those people who know them best, therefore we ensure we provide a comprehensive transition period to enable staff, parents and children as many options as possible to meet and share information. 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. This also provides an opportunity to meet with our uniform supplier to discuss any queries and place orders. Also there is an opportunity to meet our Breakfast club, Afterschool club and Friends of the school associations. This evening also enables parents to have an in depth look at all the areas of learning that we at Lady Joanna cover in The Early Years Foundation Stage and the resources and equipment we use to support the children.
  • The new children are invited to join the existing Reception Classes for two separate story time sessions across both the Reception Classes.
  • The new children are invited in for an afternoon in their allocated classes.
  • Parents and children are invited for an afternoon Teddy Bears’ picnic with our existing classes to enable parents another opportunity to meet and get to know each other as well as meeting the staff again and other children.
  • Members of staff from Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School make visits to as many feeder settings as possible. Telephone conversations and reciprocal visits are also welcomed.



From Reception Class to Key Stage 1

During the final term in Reception, the EYFS Profile is completed for each child. 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. 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. Year 1 teachers are given a copy of the Profile report and a meeting takes place between teachers to talk through the child’s skills and abilities in relation to the three key Characteristics of Effective Learning. The pupils get opportunities to meet their Year 1 teacher and their new classroom throughout the Summer Term so that relationships can be formed. Constructive dialogue occurs between Reception and Year 1 teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs. This then assists with the planning of activities in Year 1.

This policy has been written in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Single Equality Scheme
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Child protection policy
  • Health and safety policy
  • Behaviour policy
  • Teaching and Learning policy



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.



Health and Safety

At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School there are clear procedures for assessing risk (see health and safety policy) which includes procedures for keeping children safe during outings and for any aspects of the environment or provision that may require a further risk assessment.

In line with the EYFS statutory framework, at Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School we undertake;

  • A whole school medicines and administrations protocol ensuring that there are systems in place to ensure that medicines and the systems for obtaining information about a child’s needs for medication are kept up to date in line with our with our policy for supporting children with medical needs. Training is provided for staff where the administration of medicine requires medical or technical knowledge. Medicines (both prescription and non-prescription) are only administered to a child where written permission for that particular medicine has been obtained from the child’s parent and/or carer.” At Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School a written record is kept each time a medicine is administered to a child and informs the child’s parents and/or carers on the same day.”(Statutory framework for EYFS 2012)
  • Children bring water bottles which are accessible throughout the day in class rooms .Fresh drinking water is available at all times as well.
  • Every child is encouraged to bring a healthy snack from home. In the afternoon each child is able to select a piece of seasonal fresh fruit to eat (no charge) .
  •  A first aid box is accessible at all times in each class and a record of accidents and injuries is kept.


Safeguarding and Welfare

Our safeguarding and welfare procedures are outlined in our safeguarding policy