The Foundation Stage  (Reception Class only)


A quality start to the learning journey

“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential." EYFS statutory guidance


Our Vision

We have very high expectations and are always striving to ensure we are meeting every child's needs. We believe that all children deserve the best possible start and planning supports the teaching and learning process to ensure strong outcomes for all children.

We will inspire and encourage children to be kind, respect each other, aspire to be the best they can be, develop their resilience and the importance of working together.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

Indoor and outdoor play are essential for young children to enable them to explore and discover. We actively encourage children to engage in key learning experiences, both in the indoor and outdoor environments.

Key principles of our EYFS provision:

A Unique Child – We believe that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children learn and develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children's attitudes and dispositions to learning are influences by consistent and regular feedback so we use praise and encouragement as well as celebration and rewards to develop a positive attitude towards learning.


Positive relationships – We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from a base of secure relationships. We aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with all children and their families.


Enabling environments – We recognise the key role the environment plays in supporting and extending children's development. Through regular observation, we assess children's interests, stages of development and learning needs, before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences which will extend their learning.


Learning and development –  Our Reception classroom is organised so as to allow children to explore and learn in security and safety. The space is set up into learning areas and children are able to access resources independently. Children are able to access indoor and outdoor experiences every day.


The characteristics of effective learning underpin all areas of learning and development in the EYFS. These are:

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically

    Children learn through seven key areas of learning and development: all of these areas are essential for young children and all are important and are inter-connected. There are three prime areas: Communication and Language, Physical development and Personal, social and emotional development. There are four other specific areas which are: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.


  • Communication and Language and the development of children's spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development
  • Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. It is crucial for children to develop a life long love of Reading.




    We follow the revised national curriculum (2014) across key stage one and two. The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

    The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils' knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.


After some years of developing our own foundation subject curriculum we have, since March 2020, invested in a revised offer, building on what we learnt and reflecting a developing trust-wide curriculum in the subjects history, geography, science, art and DT. This was, and continues to be, a significant piece of work but will enable us to develop closer links with our partner trust primary schools and create a strong curriculum offer for our pupils, drawing on the expertise of staff across all our primary school settings. This allows us to create links between staff teams in partner schools and thus both positively impact on workload and extended opportunities in order to share ideas and collaboratively moderate standards in the future.

Our curriculum is carefully sequenced and knowledge-rich; it aims to inspire pupils and promote excellent outcomes for all. The curriculum content in each subject area has been carefully selected based on national guidance, local knowledge and relevant research. Curriculum teams developed content, each subject being organised to ensure progression and consistency, ensuring that children can build on their knowledge from year to year. In this way, the knowledge in the curriculum is cumulative, constructing firm foundations from which children can progress and develop deeper conceptual understanding and subject-specific skills over time. Subject content has been selected to provide a curriculum which is relevant to our own Daresbury Primary School children – to reflect their context locally – and establish the foundations for lifelong learning.

Here is the latest curriculum overview for 20201/22 (Please note for Classes 5and 6 we are on Cycle B):  MAT Curriculum Overview Daresbury.pdf

Here is our revised curriculum policy: Curriculum Policy.


The school curriculum is underpinned by the school's 3 key words (kind/safe/ready) and the trust's six values (aspiration/kindness/resilience/integrity/respect/collaboration) that are at the core of all activities, lessons and aspects of the school day.


At Daresbury Primary School we have adopted a mastery approach to the teaching and learning of Mathematics to underpin the three integral aims of the national curriculum; fluency, to reason mathematically and to problem solve. Mathematics is a creative and an inter-connected subject and we believe that by teaching Mathematics through a range of concepts and manageable steps, all children will develop their sense of curiosity and deepen their understanding securely. We use mistakes and misconceptions as an essential step in the learning journey and provide challenge through sophisticated problems to ensure that our children foster a positive relationship towards their learning of Mathematics, make rich connections to mathematical representations and ideas and apply this to the ever growing world around them. We have a passion for high standards in mathematics and believe that all pupils can become excellent mathematicians.

Method and process are equally as important as the answer.  We ensure that our pupils have a bank of strategies and the mental fluency to confidently solve mathematical problems in a range of contexts.  We encourage our pupils to explain their methods, talk to each other about how they solved a problem and find relationships and patterns in their processes and solutions.  Mathematical vocabulary is at the heart of each of our lessons; ensuring pupils understand and use the correct terminology in order to communicate confidently in a shared mathematical language.  Pupils also work in mixed-ability pairs, giving every pupil the opportunity to challenge themselves and extend their own thinking. A strong relationship between conceptual understanding and procedural fluency are key for pupils to truly gain 'mastery'. In order to extend, we believe in deepening thinking within the area of study, rather than accelerating onto the next topic. To deepen knowledge and understanding, we ask questions such as: How did you get that answer?  Can you prove it to me? What strategy did you use?  Is there another way? Can you show me?

It is the expectation that children are able to confidently recall all the multiplication facts up to 12 x 12 by the end of Year 4. Children learn strategies for multiplication throughout their mathematics lessons and take part in our weekly Superhero Times Tables challenge that is accessible to all children from EYFS to year 6.


Reading and Phonics

From Reception to Year 6 all children are encouraged to read for pleasure; they all are given an appropriate individual reading book for their ability and we ask that they read at least three times a week, but we encourage that they read every night. All children have a reading diary to record reading at school and at home. If children read three times a week and it is noted in the diary they receive a sticker or merit and a raffle ticket. Each half term we draw out a winner from the raffle box and that child receives a £5 book voucher. We have a variety of books to not only interest the children, but to ensure they access a variety too; from picture books, fiction, non-fiction, classics and modern day classics too. All the books have been banded using the recognised reading book bands as a guide; however we use a range of book resources to ensure we can find books that match the needs of all our children. KS1 children are given a sticker, which details the books within their band and KS2 children who are above Lime books receive a record sheet, which is stuck in their diaries and they aim to read two fiction, two non- fiction, a modern day classic and a classic book. We aim for every child by the end of Year 2 to be fluent readers. In Reception and Year 1 there is a focus to hear children read regularly and ensure they read fluently and if they are not, support is implemented. Once children are fluent we focus more on understanding the text. The children are listened to read in class at least once a week and each half term (or sooner if a teacher decides) they will be assessed using the Pearson Progress and Assess tests; this informs the book bands the children read. Guided Reading skills are taught as a whole class at least once a week using the Cracking Comprehension electronic resource and Reading Vipers (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise) from the Literacy Shed. This provides structured skills-based teaching and progression across the school. Small guided reading groups are carried out daily using a variety of guided reading resources and teachers will inform the parents when this has been done and with a short comment on their performance. All classrooms have class reading areas with subject specific books and other age-appropriate reading for pleasure books. All children have access to themed mental well-being books. Additionally all classes have a class novel or shorter story which is read to them throughout the week by their class teacher. We aim to develop the children's love of literature and interest them in a wide range of novels, authors and styles. All children have access to Reading Bugs which is a web-based, ability appropriate, reading scheme which they can access at home and school. Links can be made between Reading Bugs and Wordsmith. In EYFS and Year 1the children share dialy stories using our favourite five initiative, books are chosen for example rhyme, and a book is read weekly for half a term. The idea is that this will support their language development skills. When the children are ready for synthetic phonics they begin receiving daily phonics sessions. We are currently following  Letters and Sounds; however we are researching and carrying out thorough evaluation to ensure fidelity to a government endorsed systematic synthetic phonics programme. Where we can, we ensure the children have a book linked to the sound/s they have been learning that week and supplement this with word wallets, keyrings and, when appropriate, work books to take to and from school to encourage a home school link to their phonics and reading learning.


At Daresbury all children learn to write through Talk for Writing. Talk for Writing was developed by the author Pie Corbett. It is a fun, creative programme and has a rigorous approach to develop writers. Talk for Writing starts with enjoying and sharing stories. Throughout the school, we place a strong emphasis on children reading stories and enjoying a range of literature. Through regular reading, we want children to build up an extensive and rich vocabulary for use in their own writing. During the initial 'imitation' stage of Talk for Writing, children learn to tell a story off by heart. They retell a text with expression and actions and make use of a story map to support their retelling. Once the story is learnt, children are encouraged to adapt it. At the 'innovation' stage, children make the story their own, for example, by changing the character or setting. Finally, at the 'invention' stage, children write their own text independently.


The new National Curriculum very clearly outlines the continuity and progression of spelling for Key Stages 1 & 2. We use a resource from Training Space called: The Spelling Bee. This resource contains termly spelling lists for each year group that follow the National Curriculum, spelling cards that can be shared with parents and a guaranteed system for full coverage of all spelling rules and exceptions. The children are given a termly Spelling Bee card, which is sent home and can be assessed from each class' web page. From this teachers will select a group of words linked to a spelling rule and these are stuck in weekly into the children's reading diaries. The children have a weekly spelling lesson where they are tested on a set of words linked to a particular spelling rule, the teacher will test some words that were not given to assess the children's knowledge of the rule. It is critical we take an investigative approach to the teaching of spelling and make time for the exploration of spelling patterns, rules and shape. At the end of each term the children are assessed on all the words, done in small amounts over a 2 week period.

PSHE (inc. RSE)

We teach PSHE using the Jigsaw scheme of work. Jigsaw is a unique, spiral, progressive and effective scheme of work, aiming to prepare children for life, helping them really know and value who they are and understand how they relate to other people in this ever-changing world. Jigsaw consists of six half-term units of work (Puzzles), each containing six lessons (Pieces) covering each academic year. Every Piece has two Learning Intentions, one specific to Relationships and Health Education (PSHE) and the other designed to develop emotional literacy and social skills. Puzzles are launched with an assembly containing an original song, with each year group studying the same unit at the same time (at their own level), building sequentially through the school year, facilitating whole-school learning themes. Following school closure PSHE has been a key focus of our curriculum and we have been using Jigsaw to support children's return to school.

1. Being Me in My World

Includes understanding my place in the class, school and global community as well as devising Learning Charters.


2. Celebrating Difference

Includes anti-bullying (cyber and homophobic bullying included) and diversity work.


3. Dreams and Goals

Includes goal-setting, aspirations for yourself and the world and working together.


4. Healthy Me

Includes drugs and alcohol education, self-esteem and confidence as well as healthy lifestyle choices.


5. Relationships

Includes understanding friendship, family and other relationships, conflict resolution and communication skills.


6. Changing Me

This puzzle includes sex and relationships education in the context of coping positively with change. (includes age-appropriate sex education)



Science (Trust Curriculum)

Our science curriculum has been developed as part of our trust-wide curriculum. We believe children should be encouraged to be inquisitive throughout their time at the school and beyond. The Science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. Within our schools science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes.  In accordance with the National Curriculum we develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Our curriculum develops the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them. Through this, children are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. Our curriculum focuses on the work of famous scientists and their contributions to the modern world. Along with this, we develop an understanding of environmental sciences to enable our children to be global citizens.  Our curriculum is sequential and systematically planned so the children will acquire and develop the key knowledge that has been identified within each unit and across each year group, as well as the application of scientific skills. We ensure that the skills for 'working scientifically' are built-on and developed throughout children's time at the school so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently and continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings. 

Geography (Trust curriculum)

Our geography curriculum has been developed as part of our trust-wide curriculum. We believe that children should develop a good understanding of their local area, the UK, Europe and the wider world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater knowledge of the world, as well as their roles and responsibilities as global citizens both now and in the future.  In accordance with the National Curriculum our intent, when teaching geography, is to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and people within it. We promote the children's interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes.  Our curriculum is sequential and systematically deepens children's growing knowledge and understanding of the United Kingdom and the world's countries and continents. We provide all children with a broad range of relevant geographical experiences and fieldwork opportunities that takes into account each school's individual location. Overall, children are provided with opportunity to think geographically relating the near and far, the physical and the human, people and environments, the economic and the social.  

History (Trust curriculum)

Our history curriculum has been developed as part of our trust-wide curriculum. We believe that children should develop a love of history and experience a sense of awe and wonder when learning about the past. Children are encouraged to develop knowledge of the lasting legacy of significant local, British and world history, as well as their role in learning from the past in order to influence the future.   In accordance with the National Curriculum our intent, when teaching history, is to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about how the past has influenced and shaped the modern world we live in. We encourage pupils to develop key historical skills such as asking perceptive questions, thinking critically, weighing evidence, sifting arguments, and developing perspective and judgement. Our key historical concepts of Chronology, Empire, Conquest and Invasion and Legacy enable pupils to understand the process of change over time, their own identity and the relationships between different periods of history.  Our curriculum is sequential and systematically deepens children's growing knowledge and understanding of the narratives of local, British and world history. We provide all children with a broad range of relevant historical experiences that take into account each school's individual location and identity.  Overall, children are provided with the opportunity to gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and world history. 

Art (Trust curriculum)

Our art curriculum has been developed as part of our trust-wide curriculum. We believe that art and design has a significant role in promoting the well-being of all children. It is a vital part of children's education and that all children should be inspired and enthused about art. All children will be given the opportunity to express themselves in an imaginative way, allowing their creativity and individuality to flourish through every art experience. 

In accordance with the National Curriculum, our intent when teaching Art and Design is to ensure all children develop the necessary knowledge and skills so that they are confident and independent when producing their own art work using a range of media.  

We will to provide a broad and balanced art curriculum that includes a diverse knowledge of a range of artists, cultures and that children will understand the historical development of different art forms. Children will have the opportunity to analyse and respond critically to their own work. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced so that knowledge and skills are progressively built upon and that children will revisit and develop them further over time.  

Overall, children will have the opportunity to understand and respond to the world in a unique way and develop their own interpretations.  Children will develop an awareness of the key elements of art: line, shape, colour, texture, form, space and value and become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art, craft and design techniques.  

Design Technology (Trust curriculum)

Our design technology curriculum has been developed as part of our trust-wide curriculum. We believe that our children should develop creativity and imagination as well as the technical and practical expertise needed to participate successfully in a rapidly changing world.  Our aim is to provide children with a high-quality education in Design Technology which will enable them to make a positive contribution to the creativity, culture and well-being of society. Children will develop their skills in problem solving and become confident in performing individual tasks and collaborating with others. 

In accordance with the National Curriculum, our intent when teaching Design Technology is to inspire all children to design and make purposeful products that solve real life problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others' needs, wants and values. Children will develop their resilience and ownership as they learn to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others in a practical, constructive and respectful manner. 

Our curriculum is sequential, progressive and systematically deepens children's growing knowledge and understanding by drawing on subjects such as mathematics, science, computing and artWe use the teaching sequence recommended by the DT association to deliver progressive and well sequenced sessions. Children are given the opportunity to develop and master new skills, designing and making high-quality prototypes and products through a range of diverse and meaningful topics. Children will also develop a secure knowledge and understanding of the principles of nutrition and sustainability of food.  They will learn how to cook a range of dishes from different cultures and develop their understanding of where and how food is sourced.    

Overall, children are provided with opportunity to become resourceful, innovative and enterprising citizens who learn how to take risks.  Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they will develop a critical understanding of the significance of Design and Technology and its impact on daily life and the wider world. 

Physical Education 

We deliver a broad, inclusive and challenging curriculum that aims to develop pupil's knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities. We use a range of PE schemes, including Val Sabin to support teachers to plan and assess Physical Education. Our curriculum allows pupils to explore a range of sports and develop social awareness through co-operation, fair play, sharing and consideration for others. Children are given opportunities to compete against each other in a secure and comfortable environment. Activities cover the breadth of the curriculum and focus on fundamental movement skills, gymnastics, dance and games. In addition, all children take part in additional whole class yoga sessions and weekly mile with a smile. We use external coaches and specialist teachers to deliver high quality coaching for our children and CPD to all staff.


We use Charanga Music School to deliver a progressive and well sequenced music curriculum. The Charanga scheme carefully follows the national curriculum and ensures that children are provided with a variety of musical experiences and instrument tuition. The scheme has been adapted to ensure it meets Covid-19 guidance and risk assessments. In addition, pupils in year 3 and year 4 have weekly recorder lessons from a music specialist and children across school can opt into various peripatetic lessons (paid) through other music specialist teachers.

Religious Education

At Daresbury Primary School, we follow the Halton Schools Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education – The Lancashire Agreed Syllabus. There are two key concepts explored; learning about religion and belief and learning from religion and belief. The Lancashire Field of Enquiry for RE lies at the heart of the syllabus with its central question 'What does it mean to be Human?' Pupils will progress in RE with regard to the exploration of shared human experience, beliefs and values, living religious traditions and the search for personal meaning. RE also contributes to pupils' personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. RE can also make important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as citizenship, personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE education), the humanities, education for sustainable development, thinking skills and others. It offers opportunities for deep personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally.

As well as developing a knowledge and understanding of Christianity, Religious Education is concerned with moral and spiritual development and an understanding of all religions. Children are given opportunities to think about religious ideas, behaviour, and attitudes, as well as personal qualities such as consideration, bravery, loyalty, and truthfulness. Children are not only taught about different faiths, they are given opportunities to reflect on their own beliefs and appreciate different viewpoints of others. We foster links with our local places of worship and welcome leaders from many faiths into our school. We have strong links with our Village Church, All Saints Daresbury and have regular assemblies led by the vicar.


 For any further information about our curriculum please also visit each individual class page and/or contact the school office on 01925 740309 where we will be happy to provide further details.