Denby C.E. (V.A) First School

Early Years


Our intent for EYFS at Denby First School is to encourage and inspire all children to be active and successful learners. This begins before the child starts our school through establishing connections with families and local nurseries. Transition is carefully planned and our curriculum is designed with children’s prior experiences in mind. We ensure all of our pupils receive a curriculum rooted around early language development and with reading firmly at the centre. Our children in EYFS learn in a safe and stimulating environment with high quality provision.

Through well planned provision, based on their prior learning, children have the opportunity to develop ideas, understand their feelings and build positive relationships. Children are encouraged to ask questions and solve problems. High expectations are instilled in all of our children, providing them with the self-belief and confidence to become successful and aspiring learners.

Our Reception children receive a balanced curriculum through a mixture of adult led activities and through our play-based curriculum where children are encouraged to follow their interests and enthusiasms. We encourage our children to become empowered and independent learners by leading their own play. At Denby we believe the role of the adult is crucial in providing opportunities for children to learn through quality interactions. Our highly effective practitioners ensure learning is enhanced by using every teachable moment. We have high expectations that all practitioners will support children in developing spoken language and an enriched vocabulary which ultimately pave the foundations for reading and writing.

At Denby First School we recognise that quality interactions with our children not only improve academic outcomes, but is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment. Oracy develops children’s thinking and understanding, which in turn promotes self-confidence, resilience and empathy which support the child’s well-being.

The school follows the 2014 National Curriculum from Year 1 to Year 5. Whilst ensuring that our children are both literate and numerate, our careful planning ensures that we offer a broad and balanced curriculum, which will enable us to develop all aspects of learning.

In the Foundation Stage (Reception) the curriculum is taught through six broad areas of learning: Mathematics, Communication, Language and Literacy, Personal and Social Education, Physical Development, Creative Development and Knowledge and Understanding of the World. Children are taught both indoors and outdoors, through a structured approach that allows many opportunities to learn through experience.  Children are taught individually, in groups and as part of a whole class. 




At Denby First School, while planning is in line with government legislation, we believe it should also reflect the needs and the interests of the children. Our pedagogy is adapted to meet the needs of our cohorts each year.

We work over a two-year cycle as children in Reception in a mixed age class with Year 1.  By providing stimulating, exciting topics as hooks, the children are motivated to learn.  The children, while exposed to the National Curriculum, have specific learning experiences that are bespoke to their needs.  The teaching and learning is planned using Development Matters statements for Reception age-children and we assess at the end of the year against the Early Learning Goals. The characteristics of Effective Learning are threaded through, and central, to all learning in the EYFS curriculum. Emphasis is placed upon playing and learning, active learning and thinking critically. 

Please see our coverage document for Early Years below. 


At Denby, reading is at the heart of our whole school curriculum. Believing that reading holds the key to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them, share in cultural experiences, see beyond what they know and develop the vocabulary that they need to express themselves. Our Literacy curriculum endeavours to foster a life-long love of reading.



Our school’s philosophy is that every child should become a fluent reader by the end of Key Stage One and ensuring our youngest learners have access to high-quality phonics learning is paramount to this success. In Early Years, we have a rigorous approach to phonics teaching and we follow the systematic and synthetic ‘Monster Phonics’ programme. Phonics is taught as a year group.  Any gaps of learning are addressed through additional intervention (additional to whole class phonics sessions) in order for children to ‘keep up’ and not ‘catch up’. We endeavour to ensure that all children move through the phases together.  By identifying those children making less than expected progress we can implement alternative support. Phonics is embedded across our curriculum and we strive to ensure the teaching of phonics extends beyond the ‘dedicated time’. As well as structured lessons, we also ensure opportunities are created to practise and develop skills in our provision areas and during directed tasks.



Mathematics in Early Years at Denby is based around the Early Years Mastery approach and is delivered to the year group. We use the White Rose scheme which offers a small steps approach to learning often using quality texts to introduce concepts.  The scheme is designed to promote numeracy skills in an engaging and fun way.  To maximise learning throughout the day, Maths is emphasised in all aspects of our daily routine and within the continuous provision.  We endeavour to make maths fun, exciting, real-life and meaningful!



Our continuous provision is based on the Early Excellence principle of using high quality resources that provide a range of open-ended learning opportunities to ensure the children follow their interests and meet their next steps.


Assessment Cycle

On-going formative assessment is used across all areas of learning to enable practitioners to gain a clear picture of where children are in their learning and any gaps they may have.

We provide effective and focused interventions for those children who are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year.  We also use information from observation and quality interaction to acknowledge children’s interests and facilitate their next steps in learning.  


The impact of our Early Years approach is that children develop into enthusiastic and independent thinkers with a zest for learning!

Our approach ensures all children are the best that they can be and that they achieve to their full potential.  They are perfectly prepared for Year 1 and our high aspirations see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life.