ParentMail OpenCheck

Dundonald Primary

Early Years Foundation Stage

In Dundonald Early Years we have high academic ambition for all children. Our curriculum is designed to provide rich, varied and imaginative experiences that intends to enthuse, engage and motivate children to learn and achieve highly.

Dundonald Early Years values of high expectations for all, learning through high quality play and developing the whole child are shared and promoted by all. Children benefit from meaningful learning experiences across all seven areas of the Early Years curriculum, enabling them to make links in their learning and to the wider world. A topic based curriculum design allows for this cross curricular learning with topic carefully chosen to reflect the interest of the children.

In Dundonald Early Years there is a sharp focus on the prime areas of learning, including communication and language. A language rich environment and core texts used as a key stimulus for learning develops vocabulary and language skills for all children. Talk For Writing and Power of Reading is used regularly to immerse children in language and promote a love of reading and stories.


The teaching of phonics has a high priority in the Early Years. Letters and Sounds is used to ensure that phonics is taught systematically in order for children to build their knowledge and skills effectively. Jolly Phonic songs and actions are used as an effective teaching tool. Children are taught through discrete phonics lessons as well as having regular opportunity to explore phonic activities within the learning environment.    

The implementation of our Early Years curriculum and care practices in place promote and support children’s emotional security and character development. The commitment to holistic development and clear focus on the prime areas of learning enables children to develop social and emotionally, providing and strong foundation for learning later on in their schooling.

As a Rights Respecting School our ethos and approach to behaviour embeds a culture of kindness with children’s emotional security and self-confidence at the centre. The use of ‘No Outsiders’ and explicit teaching of equality means children feel valued, included and emotionally secure. 

EYFS Early Years Foundation Stage Policy 2020  

EYFS Curriculum - Early Adopters

In 2018 the Department for Education (DfE) proposed changes to the early learning goals and the assessment process within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Schools were given the opportunity to become 'early adopters' from September 2020 and implement the revised framework a year ahead of its national roll out from September 2021.

Following a consultation period, the DfE published documents which outline the new framework and early learning goals.

Early Adopter Schools: Early Years Profile 2021 HandbookEarly Adopter Schools: Early Years Foundation Stage Framework July 2020

The reforms announced are designed to:

  • improve outcomes at 5 years old,

  • improve language development for all children but particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds,

  • reduce workload for teachers and childcare practitioners.

Our school has chosen to become an early adopter school and therefore, from this academic year (2020/21), we will be using the new Early Learning Goals set out in the statutory framework to assess your child at the end of the Reception year.

Changes to the Early Learning Goals can be found in the following Early Learning Goals Change Map: 

Early Learning Goals Change Map

The revised assessment framework continues to set out how a Good Level of Development (GLD) is to be used as a measure of children's achievement at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Children are defined as having reached a Good Level of Development at the end of EYFS if they have achieved the expected level in the Early Learning Goals in the prime areas of learning (personal, social and emotional development, physical development and communication and language) and the Early Learning Goals in the specific areas of mathematics and literacy.

New guidance to support learning over both the Nursery and Reception year has been released alongside these new Early Learning Goals, this is called Development Matters. 

Development Matters - September 2020

Development Matters is not a checklist of things that your child should do, rather it is a guidance for adults who work with children, to help them to support and embed your child's learning and development.

Our Early Years team at Dundonald have studied the changes and new guidance closely and are quickly becoming experts in what is expected of your child. 

At the end of their time in EYFS, teachers will continue to use their knowledge of your child, alongside some evidence gathered throughout the year, to make judgements about whether they have met the Early Learning Goals. 

We hope that the government will ask our opinion of the changes they have made and that we can help to inform the future of Early Years education.