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St Patrick's Catholic Primary School

Loving, Learning, Laughing

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Welcome to Foundation!


Welcome to St Patrick's Catholic Primary school. St Patrick's is a positive caring school with a dedicated EYFS team that strives for the best in everything we do. Our EYFS is packed full of fun and meaningful learning through play experiences. Our indoor and outdoor environments are rich and enabling environments, which have been and continue to be, developed by practitioners who are dedicated to providing 'wow' moments and irresistible activities that enable our children to learn. Child initiated learning experiences are very powerful and enable children to cover all areas of the curriculum. Play does not just happen. We work hard to find the best possible approaches in all aspects of our provision. This ensures that our children receive an engaging and appropriate experience that both challenges and excites, motivates and celebrates individuality and achievement.


Engagement is a fundamental aspect of learning. Creativity in planning for learning is a priority and ensures that learning is enjoyable, active and fun. We use Curriculum Maestro to support our cross-curricular curriculum planning. We have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of projects as well as to adapt them or create our own. This ensures we are building a curriculum that both meets our children's needs in our particular context and allows them to follow their interests.

  • All projects follow a rigorous skills and knowledge progression framework.
  • The Knowledge-rich Projects offer full subject coverage.
  • We use an online coverage checker to monitor intended and actual subject coverage and progression in our curriculum.
  • All projects come with a knowledge organiser, including key subject vocabulary. 


The length of our topics depend the on interest, engagement and learning of the children. Topics are broad and balanced and open questions leave room to follow the direction of things the children want to learn (as well as covering our own curriculum intentions). For example, our topic “Will you read me a story?” took lots of different directions from designing traps and wanted posters to catch the Big Bad Wolf, designing a new home for the Three Little Pigs, to baking gingerbread men and then designing bridges, rafts and kites to help the gingerbread man to cross the river safely and then onto exploring floating and sinking.


Children learn through both child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day as well as opportunities to engage in meaningful play. The carefully constructed balance between this activities means that practitioners can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children.


Our team continually review and assess recent research and develop rationales which underpin our teaching strategies and enable us to continually develop our learning environment. This enquiry based approach to learning allows the children to play, explore and investigate and question and develop their own thoughts, ideas and responses.


This page contains videos, photographs and power points full of useful information and frequently asked questions If you have any further questions do not hesitate to email us at  


Mrs Paula Pownall

Foundation Teacher/ Assistant Headteacher




In September all children in Reception will complete a Baseline Assessment. This is in addition to our school baseline that we carry out at the beginning of the year, which helps us to get to know your children and it informs our weekly planning. 


Here is some information about how the Government RBA works, why it is being done and what your child can expect


Prior to children starting school, practitioners spend time engaging with the child’s parents and previous settings to gain an understanding of the whole child. During the first half term in Nursery or Reception, all practitioners use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual starting point so that experiences can be planned that ensure success for all.


The following baseline assessments are also carried out.


The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment)

This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.


NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention)

NELI is an evidence-based oral language intervention for children who show weakness in their oral language skills and who are therefore at risk of experiencing difficulty with reading. The assessment informs us if the child is at expected for their age or requires intervention from trained NELI practitioners.


Ongoing Observation

All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples of children’s learning.



Phonics assessments are carried out using Phonics Tracker every six weeks to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress.

Assessments in all areas of learning are completed three times per year to monitor the progress children have made. Towards the end of the Summer term, the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile is completed where the class teacher judges whether the child has met each of the Early Learning Goals. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’ Impact is also evident through our successful transitions into Year 1.

Early Years practitioners have a good understanding of how each of the Early Learning Goals  links to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of subjects – both core and foundation - children leave our Early Years Foundation Stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, artists and geographers!

We provide many opportunities for parents and carers to take an active part in their child's education and find out how their child is getting on. These include:

Access to Tapestry an online learning journal and Class Dojo. This provides parents/ carers with real time access to observations teachers have made in class. 

Parent Interviews

In autumn term and spring term you will be invited to discuss your child's progress. A summary of their development will be discussed with you and how you can support their learning at home.


Throughout the year we will also be having open classrooms, an opportunity to see your child's classroom environment and work they would like to share.


When your child is 5 (at the end of EYFS) in the summer term of the reception year in school, the teacher completes an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by our reception teacher, andis based upon what they, and our staff caring for your child have observed over a period of time. A written report will come home towards the end of the summer term and opportunities are given for you to discuss this with the class teacher. 


Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

Read Write Inc Phonics Scheme
Read, Write, Inc is the phonics scheme we use to teach reading and spelling in Early Years and Key Stage One. We have chosen Read, Write, Inc because we want our children to learn to read as quickly as possible, and then read widely and become lifelong readers.

Teaching phonics at St Patrick's 



Phonics (reading and spelling)

At St Patricks, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through the Read Write Inc Programme, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the RWI progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. We start teaching the programme in your child’s Nursery year and then continue until they have worked their way through the whole reading scheme, usually this is during Years One or Two. We assess all children on the scheme every 6 weeks, to ensure that they are placed in the perfect group for their reading ability. This also allows us to quickly identify any children who need some support to access the learning at the level of the group. If this arises, we provide one-to-one tutoring for the child in accordance with the Read, Write, Inc scheme, to help them make rapid progress and once again be at the level of their group. Groups are taught by either teachers or LSAs who have had Read, Write, Inc phonics training; in utilising so many staff, we can ensure that groups are kept as small as possible and that the teaching the children receive is tailored to their needs. 


Children begin by learning the Set 1 sounds in a specific order. They also begin learning to blend sounds together to make words after learning the first 5 sounds, firstly through practising oral blending. Then, when they can blend independently, they progress on to reading green words. As soon as children can read green words, they begin to read stories in their Read, Write, Inc sessions. Each storybook is matched to the sounds they can already read, which sets them up for success and helps to build their confidence with reading. It is through these storybooks that we teach children red words, which are irregular words that are not phonetically plausible and cannot be sounded out (Fred talked). Each storybook is taught in the same way, with children practising reading the green words in the story and also the red words, before they begin to read the book. Children will then read the book several times to help build their fluency and comprehension skills.


We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.



At St Patricks, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.


Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Read Write Inc programme. 



Foundations for phonics in Nursery 

We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’.

These include:  

  • sharing high-quality stories and poems
  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes 
  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending 
  • attention to high-quality language. 

We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception


Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1 

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.


Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.  




Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. 

Assessment for learning is used:  

  • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support  
  • weekly to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings. 

Summative assessment is used:

  • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
  • by SLT and scrutinised through the Read Write Inc assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
  • Home reading
  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. o Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
  • Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
  • Teachers in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly planning maps each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT regularly audit, monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.


Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002) ‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)


We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect  our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.

Phonics at St Patrick's

Parent video: Understanding Phonics

Read Write Inc handwriting phrases

Parent video: How to say the sounds

When helping your child to decode words at home, it’s really important to pronounce the sounds correctly. Here is a helpful guide to show you how we are teaching your child to pronounce the sounds:

Parent video: Sound blending

Parent video: Spelling

Parent video: Why read to your child?

How to help at home
Read to your child

Even if your child is not yet reading words, it is so important to read stories to them. The film below explains the benefits of reading to your child:

Parent video: 10 things to think about when you read to your child

Fred Talk

To expose your child to the idea of blending sounds together to make words, break down the words of the simple vocabulary you often use at home. For example, “please pass me that c - u - p”, “let’s sit on the r - u - g”. This will help your child to practise their oral blending as they can repeat the sounds back to you and then say the word. 


Building vocabulary

Children need a rich vocabulary in order to develop high levels of comprehension. The more words your child has in their vocabulary, the more they will understand when they read. You could try using alternative words for things at home, rather than saying you are pleased that they have tidied their toys, you could say that you are delighted, ecstatic, overjoyed. 


Reading with your child

Your child will bring home reading books to share with you:

  • a Book Bag Book which corresponds to the colour band they are on in Read, Write, Inc sessions

  • a story book linked to the RWI scheme.

  • a library book for enjoyment 

RWI Glossary:




Fred is a frog puppet we use in sessions. He can only speak in sounds. 

Fred talk 

sounding out a word, saying each of the sounds before blending

Fred fingers

‘Pinching’ each sound from a word on your fingers to help spell a word

Green words

Decodable words

Red words

Irregular words that cannot be sounded out

Story Green words

decodable words that will be included in the storybook 

Speedy green words

decodable words in the storybook that children should be able to read at speed rather than fred talking first. 

Fred in your Head

still sounding out a word but doing so in your head rather than out loud, helps build fluency. 

Special friends

Two or three letters working together to make one sound e.g. sh, ch, igh, air, a-e, i-e. 

Useful resources

Story time: Singing Dad by Julia Donaldson | Oxford Owl

It's story time! Author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, reads 'Singing Dad', a Stage 2 story from the Read with Oxford range of levelled early reading book...

Story time: Mum Bug's Bag by Julia Donaldson | Oxford Owl

It's story time! Author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, reads 'Mum Bug's Bag', a Stage 1 story from the Read with Oxford range of levelled early reading bo...

Story time: The Odd Pet by Julia Donaldson | Oxford Owl

It's story time! Author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, reads 'The Odd Pet', a Stage 2 story from the Read with Oxford range of levelled early reading book...

Story time: Cat Naps by Julia Donaldson | Oxford Owl

It's story time! Author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, reads 'Cat Naps', a Stage 1 story from the Read with Oxford range of levelled early reading books f...

"Reading and writing float on a sea of talk." - James Britton


Please do ensure there are good quality talk sessions with your child on a daily basis. Below are some ideas on how to enrich your child's 'chatter' experiences.

Speech and Language

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention