children love our Early Years Unit. Our safe and stimulating space helps build a fantastic start to life.


At the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), our focus is firmly on fun and play. We provide a fantastic range of equipment, games and activities, allowing young children to be active and to learn naturally in a spirit of exploration and curiosity.


We work with our children in multiple ways to give them a fantastic start to their childhood years. In particular, we nurture the essential communication and language skills, as well as helping them to flourish physically, socially and emotionally.


Our Early Years team are experienced and capable, so you can rest assured that your child gets a great level of care and support. Staffed by teachers and a dedicated group of Learning Support Assistants, our unit has the right people to deliver a safe, fulfilling experience for your child.

Cockington Primary School Outside Play Area


Fun, play and friendship are what matter most for young children at our Early Years setting. Along the way, they benefit from fantastic learning opportunities too. We gently encourage key language, communication and social skills, and in the later stages, we explore areas such as basic literacy and maths. This understanding is a brilliant preparation for life in primary school.

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Got a question?

Are there any specialist teachers or teaching assistants?

Our staff have all the qualifications needed in order to teach a full and balanced curriculum. Some of our support staff are Forest School trained and offer advice about how to teach lessons outside.

How are parents kept informed about school news and events?

We regularly send out letters to parents. Our facebook page informs parents about news and events. There is a notice board by the Avenue Road entrance with upcoming dates and events.

How are pupils assessed and graded during the early years foundation stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a framework that sets out how children’s developing needs are met through play, care and learning. EYFS covers children from their birth up to 5 years of age. The EYFS defines how these areas should be assessed in order for the child to grow as they should. An assessment may be formative or summative: Formative assessments provide us with insight into how current teaching strategies can help our learners improve, whereas summative assessments indicate whether a learner has achieved what it was set out to do at the beginning of the learning journey.

EYFS Formative Assessments

Formative assessments are carried out to monitor how well a child progresses and how they respond to teaching strategies or interventions.

This type of assessment is carried out in various ways, such as asking how the child is feeling or what they want to learn.

Formative assessments can also be done by observing how well a learner concentrates and responds in different situations. This involves noting how often the learner engages with various materials or how long it takes to complete tasks/activities.

Another formative assessment technique would be assessing how active a child is during activities; an example is counting how many times they move from one place on their mat to another while playing.

Formative assessments are used throughout EYFS because we need insight into how children are developing to know when something needs changing or if interventions should stop altogether.

EYFS Summative Assessments

Summative assessment can be used to know if learners have achieved what was set out for them at the beginning of their education.

For example, how many times a child can read the alphabet in one minute or how well they know their number facts.

This type of assessment is usually done at pre-determined time points to see how much progress has been made and how different teaching strategies have helped learners along the way. It’s also used as evidence for parents that their children are on track with what they should be learning.”

Assessments should always include observation, discussion (including conversations with parents), checklists, records and portfolios. The purpose of these various tools is two-fold: firstly, they help ensure that children’s progress can be tracked appropriately, so teachers can make adjustments as needed based on observations; secondly, an accumulation of evidence helps support pupils’ claims about how they learn best by showing how diverse individual needs can be met.

Reception Baseline Assessment

Do you have a child starting reception class?

If so, your child will be participating in the reception baseline assessment (RBA) within the first 6 weeks of starting reception. The purpose of the assessment is to provide the starting point for a new measure that will help parents understand how well schools support their pupils to progress between reception and year 6.

What is the RBA?

The RBA is a short, interactive and practical assessment of your child’s early literacy, communication, language and mathematics skills when they begin school, using materials that most children of your child’s age will be familiar with. It became statutory for all schools from September 2021. What does participating in the RBA mean for my child?

The RBA is not about judging or labelling your child or putting them under any pressure. Your child cannot ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ the assessment. Its main purpose is to create a starting point to measure the progress schools make with their pupils.

How are pupils prepared for the transition to primary school?

The Early Years team visit children within their current settings before they come into Primary school. We offer transition days for children and parents so they can familiarise themselves with the school staff and routines.

How can parents communicate with their child's teacher?

All classes have a class email account where they can contact the child’s class teacher. Teachers are also available to the beginning and end of the day for messages. If you would like to speak to your child’s class teacher for a longer period of time, please book an appointment with them using the email address.

How does the school ensure that pupils in the early years foundation stage are safe and well-cared for?

Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.” Early Years Statutory Framework –September 2021.

Safeguarding children, ensuring that they keep safe and well, is of paramount importance and at the heart of everything that we do. Any safeguarding or welfare issues will be dealt with in line with the school’s safeguarding and welfare policy.

What is the average class size?

Class sizes are a maximum of 30 pupils.

What is the curriculum for the early years foundation stage?

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings.

All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. These are the prime areas:

• communication and language

• physical development

• personal, social and emotional development.

We must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

• literacy

• mathematics

• understanding the world

• expressive arts and design

What is the early years foundation stage?

The early years foundation stage ( EYFS ) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

What is the pupil-to-teacher ratio?

There is always at least one teacher for every class, alongside Learning Support Assistants.

What is the school's approach to play-based learning?

In our Reception years, children are able to explore their own interests through play both indoors and outdoors. They are encouraged to play alongside their pees, and alongside adults. Teachers and staff will plan small group sessions, using their areas of interest which spark enthusiasm and interest from the children.

What is the school's approach to promoting healthy eating and physical activity?

We encourage healthy eating through in school promotions and during our science and PSHE lessons. Breaktime snacks should consist of healthy options such as: fruit, cheese, vegetable sticks. Packed lunches should be balanced and promote healthy options. Our School Council helps promote healthy eating.

What is the school's approach to promoting language and communication development?

Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures. We start our phonics programme, Read Write Inc. during the EYFS, where children develop their knowledge of the sounds that will help them with reading and writing.

What is the school's approach to promoting pupils' emotional and social development in EYFS?

Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn understanding of their own feelings and those of others. Support children to manage their emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their abilities, and to persist and wait for what they want, directing attention as necessary. To best meet and support children’s emotions, we are sympathetic, warm, accepting and curious. We create connections and show empathy and listen fully to what a child is telling us, with their body language, actions, sounds and words.

We provide words and meanings to name and express emotions, so children can practice how to handle them as they arise. We encourage children to talk about their feelings, like anger or wanting something so badly they snatched it, while also being clear about limits.

What is the school's approach to supporting pupils with additional learning needs?

We offer a graduated response to ensure all the children's needs are met within school.

What is the typical school day for a pupil in the early years foundation stage?

We start the day by sitting on the carpet and doing the register, which is where we check that everyone is at school. We then go through a visual timetable for the day, so we know what is happening.

During the day, at the beginning of each session we have a small teaching input. This is where we learn about new things. We have a phonics session every day and we also have an English and Maths input. During the week we also have fun finding out about the world and carrying out creative activities. At the end of each day, we sit for story times and singing too before we say goodbye and greet our adults.

After our carpet inputs we get lots of time to explore the activities in the classroom and outside. We can choose where we want to go and have access to both the indoors and outdoors.

Sometimes, we get to choose which resources we want in the different areas, and we also get to explore the exciting activities that the adults have planned for us. Here are some examples of the activities on offer inside and then outside in our learning environment.

We play outside, whatever the weather!

So, please bring your wellies and waterproofs to school.

Every day we have snack (fruit, milk or water) and lunch at school. After lunch, we play on the big playground with our friends.

After a busy day we all work as a team to tidy up and then we collect our things and sit on our own special spot on the carpet. We reflect on the day and our learning and we sing songs and read stories.

At the end of the day, we say goodbye to our friends. Your teacher will call your name when they have seen your adult. It is then time to go home and rest after your busy day so that you are ready for the next day!

What support is available for pupils who are struggling?

We have an experienced team of dedicated staff who support all children throughout the school. The Early Years team work with our pastoral and SEN teams, as well as the Senior Leadership Team, to ensure we discuss and put in place measures that can help and support pupils who are struggling. We offer high care and warmth to enable all children to work through challenges they are facing.


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