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Princes Risborough Primary School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Early Years Foundation Stage

'The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn'.

Maria Montessori

Our Learning Environment



At Princes Risborough Primary School, we offer an early years curriculum rich in wonder and memorable experiences. We strive to provide a stimulating environment that offers exciting opportunities and promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning.
It is our intent that all children develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally in an environment which values all cultures, communities and people. We aim for our children to be confident and independent, to believe in themselves and to interact positively with others.
We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our early years’ curriculum. We believe that the correct mix of adult directed and uninterrupted child-initiated play ensures the best outcomes for pupils.
We build warm and positive relationships with the children, ensure consistent routines and forge strong relationships with parents. We recognise the crucial role that early year’s education has to play in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based. 



At Princes Risborough Primary School, we prioritise creating a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories and providing time for quality interactions between adults and between peers. Trained staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace in order to become confident communicators. Children are encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books and the systematic teaching of phonics. The children learn nursery rhymes and develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.

Our early years’ environment has been developed to enable our children to strengthen their core muscles through physical play. We encourage the children to spend time outdoors in their natural environment in all weathers. They grow and develop through wonderful, exploratory, sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, and garden area, and our learning environment is adaptable in order to reflect children's interests and progression. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult-facilitated play.


The curriculum is taught through topics which are enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts, and these are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. All planning however, is flexible and responsive to children’s needs so plans can be changed and adapted dependent on children’s interests.

We understand the importance of parental engagement and believe that our parents have a crucial role to play in their children's education. We work hard to create strong partnerships between home and school, and use the Tapestry system as a building blocks to creating this. Parents enjoy using Tapestry to engage in their child's learning and upload the learning they have been doing at home, thus enabling us to build a profile of the children’s development, growth and progress.   

As part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the children which are acquired through ongoing interactions and assessment. These are also used to inform planning and the next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.


In addition to assessing the children in relation to the early years’ curriculum, children are assessed on their reading knowledge through the use of the Big Cat Collins scheme which is linked with our synthetic Phonics programme, Letters & Sounds. The children are also assessed on each of the Phonics Phases to ensure they are receiving all the support required to make progress and ensure we meet the individual needs of all children.



Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children, regardless of their background and starting points, make good progress. Children in our early years setting, on average, arrive with lower starting points than those nationally. During their time with us children make rapid progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the year. Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations both academically and socially, developing a strong sense of themselves before transitioning into Year 1. 

Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations, making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and mistakes with peers and adults, drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.

We believe our high standards are due to our carefully planned environment, enriched play-based curriculum, quality first teaching and the rigour of assessment.

Our curriculum is reviewed annually to ensure relevance and to ensure the voices of our pupils, parents, staff and governors are heard. 

Our Outdoor Environment

ICAN Accreditation and PiP Project


The Side by Side - Providers in Partnership (PiP) is an endeavour, started three years ago, supported by the Buckinghamshire County to encourage Early Years providers to work together within their local communities to improve outcomes for our vulnerable children and families.  The aim of all involved is to close the achievement gaps and provide support to those who are most at risk of not having the opportunities and experiences they need to succeed.  The sharing of strategies and strengthening of ties between local providers, in the community services, preschools and schools, has allowed for improvement in transitions, parental engagement, home learning and language skills.  
We are currently celebrating our successes both as a preschool and reception class at a county event related to the PiP. We have shared a presentation of improvements in our provision of learning focussing on outdoor learning and in our focus on communication and language development. We are incredibly proud that the Princes Risborough Preschool has been awarded the ICAN  Accreditation to certify that it is a Communication Enhanced Level School. This includes demonstrating effective support and outcomes for all children, including those with Speech Language and Communication Needs. This Accreditation embodies all the hard work that the team have put in to empower all of our children to reach their full learning potential.

Progression Documents


Useful Documents