St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School

We act with love, build our faith and grow as people


SMC Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Early Years at St Margaret Clitherow School, we believe that every pupil is unique and deserves to have a positive experience of education where their individual needs are recognised and they are supported to thrive.


Our intent is to ensure all children have the opportunity to develop and learn in a safe and nurturing environment where play and learning is combined.

Children are given opportunities to practise, revise and extend knowledge and skills in a consistent and stable environment. Our staff is committed to enable children to develop characteristics of effective teaching and learning, by using these to inform their teaching. This will empower them to become independent, resourceful and resilient learners now and throughout their education.

So as to achieve delivering our curriculum, derived from the DfE Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS 2020), we respond to children’s interests and use these to inform our planning, considering each child’s existing knowledge and experiences. Through practical learning experiences, we strive to equip children with a love of learning and a natural curiosity. By establishing an environment that is nurturing, bright, exciting and provides interesting and challenging activities, we aim to develop the skills and abilities as follows:

  • Creating and thinking critically – pupils have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
  • Active learning – pupils keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements
  • Playing and exploring – pupils investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.

At SMC school, play is an essential part for children’s development. It builds their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and to relate to others. Children play an active role, they do not only receive knowledge passively, but make sense of what surrounds them through experiences, emotions, sensations and relationships with others.



In order to implement our intent, we equip our staff with the continuous professional development to deliver our curriculum, putting each pupil at the heart of what we do.


Carefully noticing how children learn and observing them in our provision, each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of child-initiated activity and adult-led approach, using continuous play and small group activities.


Teaching is delivered in a broad and balanced way, which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children. There is a combination of ‘in the moment’ planning, topic themes and enrichment opportunities in the Early Years curriculum.


Our staff develop an effective and engaging environment that is set up day by day, so that pupils can access all areas of learning both inside and outside our provision at any time. We promote high quality interactions between adults and children that demonstrate and impact on the progress of all our pupils.


Phonics lessons are taught using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP). Teaching sessions are in place daily, following a consistency and paced learning approach. Teachers provide repeated practice, also ensuring that matched decodable books are used both in school and sent at home.

The 7 areas of learning and development are incorporated in our planning offering a stimulating, creative, cross curricular approach, enabling broad and breadth within:

The Prime Areas

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development

• Physical Development

• Communication and Language


The Specific Areas

• Literacy

• Mathematics

• Understanding the World

• Expressive Arts and Design




Children are observed to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, which then shapes future planned learning experiences.


The impact seen on our pupils happens through the implementation mentioned on this document. Which is shown through the observations and assessments, which inform in the moment or future planning and ensure that all pupils build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. Children’s progress is at least good from their varied starting points and at the end of year Reception, the great majority reach the Early Learning Goals. The pieces of evidence of children’s achievements are recorded on Tapestry - Online Learning Journey, which also demonstrate curiosity, independence, resilience and other characteristics of effective learning. With a careful and planned approach between the YR and Y1 teachers, children are ready to transition from the Early Years curriculum to the National Curriculum in Year 1.


Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process, which are recorded on Tapestry – an electronic online journal, and shared with parents.


Partnership with Parents

The input of parents/carers, and community schools are incredibly valued in this process. We promote ‘Parents as Partners’ approach, encouraging home learning opportunities that allow children to build on their school experiences at home and parents to be involved in school life. We also have a dedicated link Governor for EYFS who liaises with the school to monitor and improve standards.


Equal Opportunities

At SMC, we aim to provide all children, regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning abilities, disabilities or gender, equal access to all aspects of school life and work to ensure that every child is valued fully as an individual. As role models, practitioners are aware of the influence of adults in promoting positive attitudes and use that influence to challenge stereotypical ideas.



The diversity of individuals and communities is valued and respected. No child is discriminated against. Children with Special Educational Needs will be given appropriate support to enable them to benefit from the early years’ framework. This includes children that are more able, those with specific learning difficulties and those with disabilities.

The school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) is responsible for providing additional information and advice to parents/carers and practitioners and for arranging external intervention and support where necessary.


* Please also see Safeguarding; Health and Safety; GDPR; and Behaviour policies.