Our Foundation Curriculum


At Whitehouse Primary School we place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can go on to be successful, active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. Embedding successful habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
Some of our pupils arrive below national expectations for their age and are from a range of backgrounds and with complex needs. We have to teach them how to listen, speak and meet the high expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. As such, we prioritise the prime areas; personal, social and emotional development, communication and language, and physical development at the heart of our curriculum offer. This starts in our enabling F1 Nursery environment where warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number sense.  This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for high quality teaching, meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences, as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas.  We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and event days.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities.  The timetable is carefully structured so that children have high quality directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED.  These sessions are followed by challenges, where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets.  This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in exploration throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development, including understanding the world and expressive art and design, as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. Preparation and co-planning meetings are led by the phase leader every week with a focus on ‘child-led’ planning, based on input from the whole team.  During these sessions the teams reflect on the following questions: “What do our focus individuals need to learn or are curious about? What embedded learning have we observed in this area?  What can be changed to extend the learning and interests of the children/individuals in this area?”  In this way, we ensure that the children’s interest and individual targets are driving our environment and that the provision leads to depth of learning across the curriculum.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  Children follow the principles of the Read, Write Inc program, and meet good outcomes for reading with a high number of children passing the Year One phonics screening. In line with the rest of the school, we follow the Write Stuff approach, with a focus on ‘The Fantastic Foundations.’ From this, we have chosen multiple high-quality texts to create an integrated approach to learning from which pupils can experience the full curriculum.
At Whitehouse we follow the Maths Mastery approach with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language.  Pupils learn new concepts through engaging and interactive lessons, which include child friendly animations from well known Numberblocks and ideas and strategies from White Rose Maths . The lessons often involve games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration time. Pupils begin to develop these key skills during their play where they are provided with invitations to explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences have helped pupils to become engaged and excited by maths. The approach is allowing us to build the levels of challenge and support throughout the adult led teaching, whilst enabling children to show their own thought processes and gain the skill and confidence to independently find explanations and problem solve to overcome misconceptions. We can see that they recall and remember the content they have been taught and the mastery approach has supported them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.


Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children in reaching their potential. This includes, for example, a nurture group with some of our vulnerable children; SALT intervention groups, additional challenge and support groups in Maths and Literacy. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children.
Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes learning walks and lesson visits with feedback, so that teachers develop a good subject knowledge and are effectively supported.  We have early years specific team meetings and training sessions which are focused on moderating outcomes across the phase so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are, and can plan their next steps for learning.  This is alongside additional CPD opportunities accessed through the IfTL, for example support staff have had specific training in areas such as Speech and Language and Special Educational Needs to support their subject knowledge for working with children who have communication and language or learning difficulties.  
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning.  This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. This information is tracked on O’track which enables us to measure our starting points against a national data set. We use this information on a weekly basis to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively.
During each assessment window, three times a year, teachers update the progress children have made onto O’track which allows us to assess and evaluate the impact of teaching. Evidence of children’s learning including observations, work samples, photographs and contributions from parents are collated to enable children to reflect on their own progress through pupil voice.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. Children in our early years, on average, arrive with lower starting points than national.  During their time in our EYFS, children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year.  Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year One.  We offer an enriched play-based provision where children’s interactions with their peers, teachers and the environment, are underpinned by the rigour of assessment and quality teaching, to provide balanced learning experiences which develop motivated learners with high levels of involvement and wellbeing.