At St Giles School, our aim is to provide all our children with a rich, stimulating and well-balanced environment. In this setting we can develop and enhance each individual child’s potential. Our Early Years makes provision for pupils from three years of age until they reach the age of six or at the end of Year 1. Occasionally pupils will stay in Foundation until the completion of Year 2.
Children are placed with us on completion of their Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). They may come from local Assessment Nurseries, school nurseries, other placements out of the area and also from Children Centres. St. Giles School follows the current Nottinghamshire County guidelines on pupil entry to school. Pupils at ages three and four (F1) are entitled to 15 hours free education. For pupils at St Giles this means up to three full days in school. Pupils who are aged four (F2) before the 31st August in any school year will be able to attend school full time from the following September. In rare cases, pupils with an EHCP that fulfil the criteria for entry at the age of two years will be accepted. Staggered starts or shorter sessions can be negotiated with staff according to pupil need. In addition, some of our pupils may be dual placed, where they attend a private or mainstream nursery/primary school for a morning or afternoon session, which is a paid session privately arranged with the pupil’s parents and will be applicable in F1 year.
Parents, carers and other professionals working with the pupils play a crucial role in the transition from home and other settings to St. Giles. At the initial stage of entry to St. Giles, parents and carers are welcomed and encouraged to stay with their child and familiarise themselves with the class, school and Foundation staff. At all time parents are encouraged to be as involved as they can be in their child’s learning and progress and close home/school links are encouraged. Links are also forged with the area Sure Starts and Schools and Family Services where stay and play sessions are arranged for parents with children with special needs can come and join the class for specific sessions once or twice a month.
National Curriculum Requirements:
At St. Giles School, children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum 2014. Four themes underpin the curriculum which are:
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
Fostered within the fourth area are the “Characteristics of effective early learning” through which all learning should be experienced. These are:
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
The Early Years’ curriculum forms part of area four and is made up of three Prime areas of learning and four Specific areas of learning. These carry equal importance are holistic and are all inter-related but the Specific areas are linked and pertinent to later stages of development:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Making relationships, Self confidence and self awareness and Managing feelings and behaviour
Physical development – Moving and handling, Health and self care
Communication and Language – Listening and attention, Understanding, Speaking
Literacy – Reading, Writing
Mathematics – Numbers, Shape, Space and Measures
Understanding the World – People and communities, The World, Technology
Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using media and materials, Being imaginative
We aim to provide equal opportunities of access to the School Curriculum regardless of the degrees of disability, gender, race and culture. All children entering the school within the Early Years age range will be placed in the Early Years Department if it is appropriate to their needs.
We encourage respect for all people and an awareness of the rich variety of cultures and religions represented in our wider community.
It is recognised that the early year’s learning environment is one that stimulates the imagination encouraging children to learn through independent investigation and play.
At St. Giles School the majority of our pupils need adult support to access and progress in these areas. Our aim is to provide our children with a wide range of experiences that can help develop their individual needs and skills. Early exploration and play forms the basis of our work.
The aims and objectives of our Early Years provision are to work in line with the objectives set in each child’s Educational, Health and Care Plan. Our Foundation class provides a flexible environment which is suited to all the needs of the children. The school closely follows the aims of EYFS 2014 through its daily work, our personalised learning programmes and our Individual Education Plans, parents meetings and Annual Review process.
Teaching and Learning:
The Early Year’s curriculum reflects a topic-based approach. Children will be taught through the Prime and Specific areas of learning and through a broad and balanced programme subject to individual needs. Individual Educational Plans will be followed in line with school policy and implemented as much as possible through the day to day class activities. There will be a mixture of whole class, small group and 1:1 teaching according to the mix and abilities of the class.
The Foundation class follows a topic-based approach on a three year cycle based on the Early Years Foundation Stage 2014 but devised by the Foundation class teacher.
Progression of our children is ensured through differentiation of the curriculum and is monitored by both school senior management. At the end of FS2 year pupils are assessed following the Early Years Pupil Profile. This is monitored at county and national level
The Foundation class is resourced under current school practice. The department has an annual class budget but extra funds can be made available for specialist resources and equipment by a request to the school head teacher.
All equipment is monitored on a regular basis to ensure that it is appropriate for class needs and safe to use.
Assessment, Record keeping and Reporting:
In order to meet each child’s individual needs, observations and assessments are carried out regularly. These, along with other reports inform planning and also show progress. In EYFS the main assessment tool is called Development Matters and is considered the assessment tool for all children at EYFS stage. At St. Giles School we use this document within our online assessment tool called “Solar.” Development Matters is a developmental assessment and at St. Giles we realise that our pupils may need an alternative way of measuring their progress and so we may also use an assessment that measures the “small step” progress that our pupils may needs. We call this WSP steps. Your child will then show their progress under both assessment measures. This progress is then used to form the Annual Review report and the Individual Education Plan. At the end of the Reception year (the academic year during which a child is five) children will be assessed using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which is a statutory assessment. Prior to and above this age pupils are assessed regularly using SOLAR an online assessment tool and also the class teacher’s own knowledge, skills and judgement.
Other professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists and other visiting professionals also liaise with the class teacher to initiate programmes and provide a holistic continuity of care.
Records of Achievement highlight and celebrate each child’s experiences and particular accomplishments throughout each area of the curriculum. These are completed throughout the school year and shown to parents at the end of the academic school year.
Evidence of each child’s progress and experiences can be found on the class computer and in working books or learning journeys. These are updated regularly.
At St. Giles School we feel that it is important to maintain close collaboration with parents and carers. Communication is made on a daily basis through a home/school diary, informal meetings and telephone calls. Parents and carers are strongly encouraged to attend their child’s annual review meeting and parent’s evenings/coffee mornings. These offer the opportunities to discuss and review their child’s progress and any other issues or concerns. On entry to the school parents, outside agencies and relevant school staff are invited to a “pre – admissions” review where the needs of a pupil entering the school can be discussed and suitable structures put in place where possible. After a period of six weeks parents are then invited to a “post placement” review where a general review of initial pupil progress is discussed.
Staff Roles and Staff Support
The class teacher is responsible for the Early Year’s Curriculum and its delivery to the class. It is the responsibility of the teacher to coordinate and supervise the teaching support assistants so that the curriculum can be effectively delivered. Training for all early year’s staff is ongoing and staff are encouraged to participate in regular courses and to further their own professional careers through internal and external college training.
Currently, the class teacher is also the Early Years Co-ordinator and will attend relevant courses, meetings and then share significant information with colleagues.
The class teacher and the class Teaching Assistants are the named key workers for all pupils in the class, although close, positive relationships between pupils and all class staff are encouraged. Teaching Assistant staff are key workers to named pupils to aid with support and progress for personal care, feeding and hygiene.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Early Years Provision will be monitored and evaluated following the school’s Monitoring and Evaluation Policy.
Health and Safety Issues
The school has a medical support team who manage most situations on a daily basis however, if necessary, staff will be given training in the medical care of the children, for example tube feeding, gastrostomy and stoma care, oxygen, tracheostomy management, suctioning and administration of different medications and epilepsy support. Only when staff are trained and certified by a health professional will they be able to carry out medical procedures unsupervised. Reassessments will follow on a regular basis – usually yearly.
All three main members of the Foundation team are trained in Paediatric First Aid.
Children in class are supervised at all times and good staffing ratios ensure that all pupils remain safe within the school environment.
Staff follow the school’s Health and Safety policy and report to senior staff if there is a concern.
Early Years Foundation Stage 2014 Welfare Requirements.
The EYFS 2017 Statutory guidance sets out ten welfare and legal requirements which must be met by all early year’s settings. These are:
Staff Qualifications, training, support and skills
Suitable Premises, Environment and Equipment
Information and Records
In accordance with the implementation of EYFS 2014 all current school policies have been updated to meet these requirements.
Use of mobile phones.
In accordance with the EYFS Statutory Framework 2017 the following is in place within the classes with EYFS pupils.
Given the more vulnerable nature of children within the EYFS setting, extra care should be given to the use of devices in these year groups. All existing regulations regarding the use of devices apply to the EYFS. The following regulations are expected to be of particular note to the EYFS setting:
- Mobile phones must not be used in any teaching area or within the bathroom area
- All mobile phones and similar devices must be stored securely away from pupils during contact time with children. This includes staff, visitors, parents, volunteers and students
- Only school devices should be used to take photographs
This is to follow in line with the current, whole school policy on the use of technology.
Kirstie Passmore – Assistant Head Teacher