Curriculum Intent

At Istead Rise Primary School, our aim is to ensure that we provide all children with the best start to their education that enables them to fulfil their full potential and achieve future success regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances or need. We want our children to become inquisitive, innovative and independent learners. We provide our children with a curriculum that is designed to be exciting, engaging and enriching, ensuring that every child is challenged to be the best version of themselves that they can be. We place high importance on creating a calm and caring environment for our children to be in, therefore enabling them to feel happy, safe, respected and confident to enjoy their learning. We want our children to be excited about coming to school and look forward to the experiences they will have.

Our Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is driven to: recognise children’s prior learning and experiences (influenced by their home and community), provide first hand learning experiences (filling the gaps from pupils’ background), allow the children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become critical and creative thinkers. We recognise every child as a unique individual, and aim to promote children’s interests that enable them to follow their imagination and creativity.

Our EYFS provision follows a play-based approach to learning and provides opportunities for our children to independently explore learning based on their own fascinations. We want to ignite and stimulate our children’s curiosity and imagination and seek to enrich their learning through vibrant, engaging and language rich continuous indoor and outdoor provision. We foster a love of reading and provide an array of activities that utilise imaginative stories, poems and thought provoking texts.

The school’s school’s four core values; Independence, Respect, Perseverance and Self-Reflection provide the cornerstone of our children’s personal, social and emotional development and are embedded throughout our curriculum. The children are taught about our core values from day one, leading to the development of effective learning behaviours that continue throughout the school. We work in partnership with parents and carers; our open door policy means we are always available to speak to parents and carers and encourage them to share information about their child. This ensures our children thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.


At Istead Rise, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.  The framework is made up of four overriding principles which our early year’s education is based upon: 

  • Unique Child - Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured

  • Positive Relationships - Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships

  • Enabling Environments - Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners, parents and carers

  • Learning and Development - Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The learning experiences within our EYFS are linked to the seven areas of learning and development. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas.  The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. 

Prime areas include:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development - involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their coordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food

  • Communication and Language Development - involves providing opportunities for young children to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations

  • Physical Development -  involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities

As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will naturally support them in developing skills in the four specific areas. 

Specific areas include: 

  • Literacy - the early teaching of literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, non-fiction texts) to ignite their interest

  • Mathematics - the early teaching of mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating addition and subtraction problems; and describing shape, space and measure

  • Understanding the World - this involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people and places, technology and the environment

  • Expressive Arts and Design - this involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology

These seven areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. Our EYFS curriculum is followed and planned to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment that meets the developmental needs of all our children. It is delivered using an integrated themed approach, however objectives are taught discretely where this is more appropriate and we allow flexibility within our planning so that a child’s unique needs and interests are supported. 

Topics or themes are tailored to ensure that all children leaving Reception are ready to start the KS1 curriculum. Topics do not always last a specific amount of time but are developed based on the children’s learning at the time and the related core knowledge and skills which need to be taught. All of our topics are carefully resourced and are introduced with a high quality, diverse story book or age appropriate non – fiction text that reflects the interests and experiences of our children. Daily independent and guided activities are set up and planned for and cover different aspects of the EYFS curriculum that support children to achieve their next steps in learning. 

A vital aspect in the development of skills and knowledge is the use of continuous provision. This means that our children are using and developing taught skills throughout the year on a daily basis. Our continuous provision planning supports our children in acquiring key life skills, such as independence, innovation, creativity and problem solving. Children will have the opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and members of staff. By planning this way, our EYFS provision ensures that our indoor and outdoor learning environments promote the characteristics of Effective Learning:


  • 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;

  • Creating and Thinking Critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

Early reading and writing is taught using the Read Write Inc scheme. This phonics scheme will help children learn letter sounds, how to blend sounds together for reading and how to form letters and segment the sounds in words for writing. The use of pictures, rhymes and mnemonics supports children by embedding knowledge of phonics to memory. Daily adult-led sessions are delivered by fully trained practitioners and are structured so that children participate in speaking, listening, reading, writing and spelling activities. Catch-up sessions are used to support pupils learning when required. In EYFS, children’s reading books are matched to their phonic ability and reading records are sent home in children’s planners to encourage parents to read with their child. Class stories and poems are read on a daily basis to promote an enjoyment and love of reading. 

We follow the White Rose Maths Scheme with an emphasis on developing a mastery of early mathematical concepts in number, calculation, shape, space and measure so that children develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Children learn through games and activities using manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning. Activities and experiences are carefully designed to help our children 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. 

While the children are learning, staff make regular observations to ensure that  progress is being made, potential areas where additional learning support may be required are identified and to help children identify their own interests. Information from observations is uploaded to Arc Pathway, an online tracker, which parents can access. Parents can also upload observations from home, which enable practitioners to build a picture of the child’s learning, progress and development as a whole while they are on their journey towards achieving the Early Learning Goals in July. Formative and summative assessments are made in line with Development Matters objectives. These assessments ensure that our planning, adult interaction and learning environment support our children to reach their next steps. 

To support our wider curriculum, we provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to come into school and work with their child, share their work and celebrate successes. We provide parents with regular updates about their child’s progress in school, through transition days, stay and play sessions, parent workshops, WoW moments, reports and parent consultations. 

Whilst the children’s interests are at the heart of our curriculum, we ensure that we provide all pupils with a broad range of experiences and opportunities covering a variety of festivals and celebrations giving them the cultural capital they need for future success. All children perform in a Nativity and participate in trips. Our children enjoy visits from a vast range of visitors, such as community members including the police, fire service, postal workers, vets, doctors and nurses.

British Values play a fundamental part of our curriculum and everything we do; we focus on promoting the more general concepts within the Early Years Foundation Stage and understand that the children’s development within these areas is key to promoting the values in the long term.