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Early Years Foundation Stage

At Sutton Courtenay Primary school we offer education for children the term after they turn 3 years of age. We currently have two classes; a nursery class (Barn Owls) for our youngest children and a Reception class (Robins) for our 4-5 year olds.

We believe that effective education requires both a relevant curriculum and practitioners who understand and are able to implement the curriculum requirements. We understand that children develop rapidly during the early years – physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. Our provision supports and extends knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence, and helps them to overcome any disadvantages.

We pride ourselves on ensuring all children feel included, secure and valued. We build positive relationships with parents in order to work effectively with them and their children. We offer children experiences that build on what children already know and can do. We encourage a positive attitude and disposition to learn and aim to prevent early failure.

Our early years curriculum is carefully structured through:

  • provision for the different starting points from which children develop their learning, building on what they can already do;

  • relevant and appropriate content that matches the different levels of young children’s needs;

  • planned and purposeful activity that provides opportunities for teaching and learning, both indoors and outdoors. Opportunities for children to engage in activities planned by adults and also those that they plan or initiate themselves.

‘I played all day today, Daddy!’

We know children do not make a distinction between ‘play’ and ‘work’ and so neither do we as practitioners. Children need time to become engrossed, work in depth and complete activities. We spend a lot of time observing children and assessing their levels of involvement. This enables us respond appropriately to children, informed by our knowledge of how children develop and learn and a clear understanding of possible next steps in their development and learning.

Our EYFS team are all highly trained skilled practitioners, our provision prides itself in all children having a key person who is a qualified teacher with the additional support or Teaching Assistants and Nursery nurses. In addition, we offer Weekly Forest School sessions to children who start in our Reception class. Our Forest School sessions are led by a Level 3 trained Forest School Leader.

Quotes from Ofsted over the years 

(There has been little movement of staff in our Early Years, we have maintained our Nursery Nurse and Early Years Leader for many years over 4 Ofsted inspections)


Children in the Early Years get off to a strong start. Staff set high expectations, then do all they can to help children achieve them. Staff support children to practise and build their knowledge and understanding of numbers effectively. The school’s focus on personal, social and emotional development is highly effective. In Nursery, a strong focus on rhymes and singing helps build confidence and important communication skills.(2023)


The early years is a settled, calm and positive environment for learning. Children play happily together and are secure in the good relationships they have with adults in the setting. Children behave well, listen attentively and respond respectfully to adults and each other. Resources are organised and accessible so that children can select the materials they would like to use, make choices in their learning and follow their interests. (2017)


Reception children make rapid progress because of outstanding teaching .(2012)

They tend to make steady progress in the Nursery and rapid progress in the Reception class. (2012)

Inspirational teaching in the Reception class makes children believe in what can they can learn and accomplish. (2012)


Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make a good start to their education because the tasks are matched well to their needs. (2010)

Children enjoy school because members of staff are skilled at making them feel safe and happy. (2010)