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“A village school
in a town setting”

Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School

Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)


The EYFS is for children from birth to five years of age.  The final year of the EYFS is referred to as the Reception year.


The Early Learning Goals (the knowledge, skills and understanding which young children should have acquired by the end of the Reception year) and the educational programmes (the matters, skills and processes which are required to be taught to young children) are set out in the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ document (Department for Education, 2012).


There are three ‘prime’ and four ‘specific’ areas of learning and development:


Prime Areas


  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development



Specific Areas


  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design


All these areas are important and inter-connected.  The three prime areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.


All the areas are delivered through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities.  The children have daily opportunities for structured and free-flow play both in the classroom and in the outdoor area. This time is supported by an adult, who acts as a facilitator to the child’s learning.


In the EYFS we analyse and review what we know about each child’s development and learning through observational assessment, and then make informed decisions about the child’s progress.  This enables us to plan the next steps to meet their development and learning needs.  


Observational assessment informs everyday planning and is based on on-going observational assessment of each child’s achievements, interests and learning styles. Formative assessment may take the form of anecdotal observations (from practitioners, school staff and Parents/carers in the form of WOW vouchers), focused observations, baseline assessment, other focused assessments e.g. sound/number, annotated examples of work, photographs, video and information from parents.  Each child has an individual Learning Journey in which this evidence is stored. We plan for observational assessment when undertaking our medium and short term planning.









The Bristol Standard


The Bristol Standard is recognised nationally as an outstanding self evaluation framework and the benefits and impact of this structured and co-ordinated approach to quality improvement have been well evidenced. Through team reflection and discussion, the strengths of the setting are celebrated and areas for development identified, priorities become clear and plans are shaped that can be implemented and monitored. By sharing experiences and expertise, practitioners are able to talk more knowledgeably about what they do, why they do it and the difference that this is making for the children in their care and their families.



The Bristol Standard is a self evaluation framework that supports all settings to develop and improve the quality and effectiveness of their provision through an annual cycle of reflection. It involves a whole team approach with practitioners working together on developments, to improve outcomes for all children and their families. The Bristol Standard has been designed to support the process of continuous quality improvement which is a journey, not a destination. It is organised into ten dimensions, so that settings can evaluate one area at a time in a manageable way. A portfolio is submitted annually. It can be undertaken by anyone who works in the Early Years or Play Sectors. Involvement in the Bristol Standard demonstrates your commitment to reflection, self-evaluation and improving on your previous best.


The Bristol Standard Purposes


These purposes have been mapped to the 12 Quality Improvement Principles developed by the National Quality Improvement Network.


The purpose of the Bristol Standard is to:


  • Establish a clear understanding of vision, values, principles and practice
  • Achieve high quality provision for all children from birth in a culture of inclusion and anti-discriminatory practice
  • Enable teams to work together, have a voice and learn from each other
  • Celebrate current good practice and develop the quality and effectiveness of provision through a continuous process of reflection
  • Enable settings to develop and improve the quality and effectiveness of their practice
  • Support the development of genuine partnerships with children’s families or carers, other professionals and the local and wider community
  • Support a culture of shared leadership – key people who motivate, sustain, challenge and empower others
  • Support a process of continuous professional development

These purposes have been mapped to the twelve Quality Improvement Principles developed by the National Quality Improvement Network.


The Ten Dimensions


  1. Values & Aims
  2. Relationships & Interactions
  3. Supporting Play, Learning & Development
  4. The Physical Environment
  5. Play & Learning Experiences
  6. Observation, Assessment & Planning
  7. Staffing, Leadership & Management
  8. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  9. Monitoring & Evaluation