Federation of Abbey Schools

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Cleveland Terrace, Darlington,County Durham DL3 8JA


01325 380 748

Early Years


The Statutory Framework for Early Years has been revised from September 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2 

To enable children to develop the seven areas of learning are followed:

Prime areas of learning:

  • Communication and Language , (Listening and attention, Understanding and speaking)
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development, (making Relationships, Self-confidence and self awareness, Managing feelings and behaviour)
  • Physical Development, (Moving and handling and Health and self-care)

Specific areas of learning:

  • Literacy, (Reading and Writing)
  • Maths, (Number and Shape, space and measure)
  • Understanding of the World, People and communities, The world, Technology)
  • Expressive Arts and Design, (Exploring and using media and materials, Being Imaginative)

Learning environment

The outside area is seen as an extension of the classroom and the above opportunities will be available outside as well as inside.
Through all of our strands we aim to develop the children as they Play and Explore, be an Active Learner and to have Creative and Critical Thinking.


There are 4 key principles that underpin our practice in the Reception Classes at Abbey School.

A Unique Child

We recognise that all children are different. We identify and celebrate their strengths and support their areas for development

Positive Relationships

Our pupils interact well with each other and with the adults in the school. We encourage parents to be involved with their child’s education.

Enabling Environments

Our indoor and outdoor areas encourage exploration, investigation, and independent learning. Our displays and resources are well maintained and reflect current learning.

Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates

Pupils achieve well and make good progress from their starting points. Learning is playful, practical, and purposeful and builds upon prior attainment. Our children enjoy coming to school.

The learning partnership between parents and school is supported through our online platform, Tapestry, which enables learning experiences at home and school to be shared.


Phonics and Reading

Phonics at Abbey is implemented through Letters and Sounds. During the Autumn Term 2021 the school will transition to the accredited Little Wandle Phonics Programme which uses the principles of Letters and Sounds as its basis. More information about Little Wandle, including how to videos can be found by following the link https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/ 

Phonics lessons are taught daily from Reception to Year 2 and are consistent across the school. Lessons follow the same structure of revisit/review, teach, practise/apply and revise. Staff use the same vocabulary, resources and teaching mantras consistently. There are key expectations for each year group and interventions are put in place for those children that fall behind or the lowest 20%.

Reading books are matched carefully to each child’s phonics phase. We predominantly use Big Cat reading books which match directly to the Little Wandle Phonics Programme. The school also has a wide range of books that they send home to be shared with their child. The English long term plan can be found here


Please follow this link Maths in EY to see what maths looks like in EY.

EY Curriculum Overview

Reception Long Term Curriculum Plan 2023 -24