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Earl Sterndale

C of E Primary School

Curriculum - Infant Class

Infant Class (Early Years Foundation and Key Stage 1)

When the children start in Early Years Foundation Stage they take part in a variety of early literacy and numeracy activities at an appropriate level, to ensure they become familiar with letters, sounds and numbers. They participate in a range of listening games and practical activities inside and outside the classroom. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the local environment and get involved in regular creative sessions. In Key Stage 1 children take part in literacy and numeracy lessons which are pitched at the individual child’s ability. We aim to approach tasks across the curriculum in many different ways to ensure the children’s continued enthusiasm and interest.


At Earl Sterndale we recognise the importance of teaching a synthetic phonics programme to build and support children’s speaking and listening skills, and to prepare children for learning to read by developing phonic knowledge and skills.  


We follow the Jolly Phonics programme in EYFS and Year 1 followed by Sounds Discovery in Year 1 and 2 as it simultaneously teaches alternative spellings, the segmentation of words for spelling and develops phonemic awareness skills further. 


Phonics is taught every day and during each lesson children are taught to:


  • Decode letter/sounds correspondences
  • Read  ‘tricky’ words by sight
  • Comprehend and understand what they read 
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression 
  • Spell quickly by segmenting sounds in words
  • Handwriting 


Strategies are put in place for children that may need some additional support. Intervention programmes using Sounds Discovery, Twinkl Phonics, Phonological Awareness Training and Nessy are used 1:1 or in small groups to boost phonic knowledge. 


Phonics is important for children to become effective readers, but it is not an end in itself. Our children are also taught phonics as part of a language rich curriculum, so that they develop their wider reading skills at the same time.


Useful websites:


At Earl Sterndale we believe that reading is crucial to our children accessing the curriculum and that it is a vital life skill. We know that confident readers can access a wide range of life experiences and enjoy a breadth of genres. Reading allows individuals to acquire knowledge, find out what’s going on, achieve and enjoy themselves!



Through our whole school approach to reading we aim to make our children competent in the skill of reading and understanding what they have read. To also empower our children to love and appreciate reading for life.



To enable this to happen we use a range of teaching strategies and through our everyday practice we create an ethos that positively promotes reading.


Each classroom has a range of books on offer for the children to access throughout the day. In our library, children can enjoy a range of books specific to their topics, fiction and non-fiction books, a vibrant space filled with a variety of texts for all ages.


We actively encourage parents and the local community to engage and share their love of reading with the children. Parents and carers are invited to come in, we also have a range of volunteers from the local community who come in and read with the children on a regular basis.


Our love of reading is reflected in the World Book Day celebrations we have every year in which children are encouraged to dress as their favourite fictional characters and share their favourite books, ending in a book swap.


We also encourage friendships to flourish between the older and younger children throughout the school with ‘Buddy Reading’. Each infant child is paired with a junior child and they spend 20 minutes together once a week reading to each other and sharing books.  


Foundation Stage

In the Foundation Stage early reading and phonic knowledge is built on. The school uses Letters and Sounds as a basis for phonics teaching. In September most children are ready to begin working at Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds; they will have experienced a wealth of listening activities, they will be able to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment sounds orally.

By the end of the first few weeks all children will have a matching game, some keywords and a reading book to take home with their reading record. It is our aim to hear children in the Foundation Stage read every day. We encourage children to read with their grown up each evening, and parents/carers are asked to fill in their child's reading record to show this has happened and make a relevant comment.


The reading schemes in place are Oxford Reading Tree, Jelly and Bean, Rapid Readers and Bug Club. As they are ready, in preparation for Key Stage 1, and to develop a wider range of reading skills, children move onto reading books that provide additional challenge.


During the spring term children in the Foundation Stage are usually ready to access weekly Guided Reading sessions, our Rigby Star books. These sessions are led by a Teacher or Teaching Assistant and give opportunities for groups of children of a similar reading ability to read the same book individually but as part of a group.


Key Stage 1

In Year 1 and 2 the predominant reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree. This is supplemented with Jelly and Bean, Oxford Fireflies, Rapid Readers and Project X books. There are a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, and whilst children are encouraged to read Stages in order of sections it is also important that they read books that they are interested in.


Children are heard read by a Teacher or Teaching Assistant at least twice a week, with identified children being heard read on a more frequent or even on a daily basis. Children continue to be encouraged to read every evening and parents are asked to record this in their reading record. All children in Key Stage 1 take part in a weekly Guided Reading session. Guided Reading sessions form part of our literacy morning, usually on a Wednesday.


We use a wide range of reading scheme and non-scheme books, colour coded into ability bands using the Book Band system, to teach and support reading.


Each week your child will bring home new books for them to read with you at home as they progress to becoming a fluent reader.  We really encourage dialogue between home and school through a reading diary.



We aim for all of our children to be lifelong readers, seeking out books for pleasure, escapism and fuelling their thirst for knowledge.

Through the quality teaching of systematic phonics, our children will become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.


Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.

Infant Maths


Years 1 and 2 follow the White Rose Hub (WRH) plans to deliver the maths curriculum. See Maths Overview for more detail.



Formative assessment is ongoing and ensures that the lessons planned are appropriate to teach the next steps in learning. Teachers are skilled in assessing progress through the lesson by means of observation and questioning and by viewing independent work.

Interim assessments check if the children have understood a unit of teaching.  This can be through the assessment of specific targets.

Summative assessments are carried out termly to check how much content has been understood and where the gaps are for individuals.  The progress of individuals is tracked over time which allows the school to implement interventions for individuals or groups.  We use Y1 and Y2 WRM assessments.



Teachers use questioning techniques and a variety of problem-solving activities to deepen understanding.  Practical equipment, such as Dienes, Place Value counters & Cuisenaire are used to demonstrate concepts and support visual learners.  Drawing models such as bar models, whole Part/ part models, number lines and Place Value Charts, also help to reinforce understanding.  Differentiation to match all abilities is achieved through the amount of support given, the equipment used, and the variety of questions and challenges given.

Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

Curriculum Overviews 

Infant Cross-Curricular Topic Webs