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Committed to excellent standards of teaching in partnership with a variety of local and national organisations contributing towards system-wide improvement.

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‘Happy Children make the best learners.’

At Ardley Hill we believe that The Early Years are a pivotal place for learning to begin.  We, as a team, love to support our children to grow emotionally and physically, watching individuals become unique and inquisitive, whilst encompassing all needs – every child is different. We care and understand our children by getting to know each and everyone of them personally, fully knowing their next steps. Open ended play is of the upmost importance and alongside talk, storytelling and adult guidance, you begin to see effective learning develop.  

We pride ourselves on our positive attitudes, kindness and passion. We believe that these years are where we need to harness all the children’s thoughts and imagination and guide them. They will pick up pens for the first time, open up the magical world of reading and express themselves openly in a trusting and safe environment. 

In these classrooms, children will begin their adventure, create a positive attitude to learning and develop skills that will carry them through their whole school life and beyond. They will thrive; learning independence, creativity, willingness to learn, and continually be exposed to new experiences, books, vocabulary and problem solving.  

Environments that are full of passion, care and support will guide the children to be the best people they can be. With our large outdoor and indoors areas, and plentiful, carefully chosen resources the children have space to explore and play. In these areas we teach the life skills; sharing, playing and motor skills, whilst incorporating the 7 areas of EYFS learning. 

 The immersive Cornerstones curriculum is challenging and will allow children to develop skills, form their own opinions, build on previous experiences and give them the confidence to speak out. We base our exciting topics around texts that will interest the children. Our fluid, ever changing environments will motivate children to start their educational journey -  whichever exciting path it takes them on!



At Ardley Hill Academy, we provide a curriculum that is designed for children to be RESILIENT and ENGAGED so that their unique needs, passions and interests are embraced. Every child is an exceptional individual and we celebrate and respect differences within our diverse school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge and values that equips our children to REACH their full potential. We inspire our children to become accomplished, happy individuals, and be able to COMMUNICATE to reach their full potential in an ever-changing world. 

Our EYFS curriculum is driven to: recognise children’s prior learning and experiences provide first hand learning experiences. Plan for our children’s interests and provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support learning, consolidate and deepen knowledge and ensure children meet their next steps. Provide our children with a wide range of rich, first hand experiences to take the curriculum beyond the classroom. We encourage personal development, being HEALTHY and to be ASPIRATIONAL to help prepare them to make a valuable contribution to society. Provide purposeful, enticing and well planned indoor and outdoor environments which supports learning in all areas of the curriculum. Prepare children to reach the Early Learning goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure children make at least good progress from their starting points.



At Ardley Hill we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This is made up of four overriding principles which our early year’s education is based upon:

  • Unique Child – Every child is unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
  • Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
  • Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The curriculum provides a play-based and experiential learning environment, combined with focussed teaching and basic skills, to ensure children make rapid progress before moving onto Year 1. The children in both Pre School and 4+ are provided with ample opportunities accessible in our indoor and outdoor provision. They engage in planned, focussed activities as well as self-initiated and free flow activities. The learning experiences within our Early Years are linked to the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. These include:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Communication and Language – involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical Development – involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy – the early teaching of literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Maths – the early teaching of mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and describing shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the World – this involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design – this involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum and staff plan resourcefully for opportunities for communication, sustained shared thinking and physical challenge to build on existing skills taking into account the Characteristics of Effective Learning.

Rich first hand experiences (inside, outdoors, visitors and school trips) to widen experiences, awe and wonderment. Exploratory learning and thinking creatively including problem solving across all areas of learning. New vocabulary and concepts through reading will excite and engage all learners which includes staff modelling standard English and asking high quality questions.

Curriculum will promote and support children’s emotional security and development of their character enabling children to take risks in a safe and secure environment. Supporting children to be active and to develop physically including giving clear messages to children why it is important to eat, drink and exercise as well as to be kind to others.



The experiences of the task will be revisited and demonstrated through being deeply engaged in play. Our children will grow to be confident, competent lifelong learners and good citizens.

The children at Ardley Hill Academy experience a smooth transition between Pre School, Reception and beyond. Effective communication and collaboration ensure the children leave the EYFS with a solid foundation of learning of which to build upon.

We use Tapestry the online observation app across the EYFS, supplemented with exercise books in Reception, which evidence to the children and their families the successes of the children throughout their time in Early Years.

As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and also ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to ensure that we feel confident with our judgements and that these judgements are consistent with a range of other settings. Assessment starts with careful observations which are then used to inform planning. Learning and teaching is thus effective when children feel a sense of belonging, curiosity and competence showing resilience and tenacity.

By monitoring assessment procedures regularly, we can effectively demonstrate what learning is taking place and how each child is progressing in all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum. Progress toward the ELGs will ensure a positive disposition to learn. Last year we were externally moderated and the GLD exhibits the impact of the learning and teaching in the EYFS at Ardley Hill Academy.