EYFS – Information for Parents

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at The Independent Grammar School: Durham is delivered within the main school building in a ground-floor classroom within easy reach of outdoor space. Mrs Kate Roberts-Lilley manages our EYFS provision and is the key person for every child. Mrs Roberts-Lilley is a qualified teacher and has several years’ experience working with primary children, especially within early years. An appropriate number of classroom assistants will be employed to support her. Should parents have questions about any aspect of our EYFS provision, they should contact Mrs Roberts-Lilley in the first instance.

IGS: Durham teaches the EYFS curriculum, which is statutory for all children at this stage in their education. The classroom and outdoor space have a range of areas for work and play and children are encouraged to choose for themselves the activities they enjoy, under the guidance of the teacher and within a well-structured environment including an appropriate amount of teacher- led activity. Children are taught phonics and spend a great deal of time reading. Children will have the opportunity to read to an adult every day. Mathematics is taught equally rigorously. Children’s progress is carefully monitored and recorded, with every child “graduating” from early years with a colourful and comprehensive record of their progress and attainment. Every day, children take home a home/school diary and parents are encouraged to support them in any homework set, provide written feedback for the teacher(s) – and in particular, and crucially, by listening to children read and by reading to them themselves.

A typical school day will start at 8.30 with registration and settling in, hanging up coats etc. Whole-school assembly takes place every day at 8.45, and the first lesson begins just after 9.00. Mornings are structured and comprise Mathematics and English. Afternoons are more flexible, allowing the teacher(s) to adapt content, style, timing etc. to the needs of the class. Afternoons will typically include a range of activities covering the remainder of the curriculum – e.g. science, history, PSHE etc. The school day ends at 3 pm and children may be collected then. (It is also possible for children below compulsory school age to attend on a part-time basis and we are happy to allow different start and finish times if desired). Early years children are welcome to join all after-school clubs (every afternoon except Tuesday) and these finish at 3.50 pm, at which time all children should be collected.

We are delighted to welcome children with a range of special needs and will work hard to accommodate such children into the EYFS setting. Our Admissions Policy makes it clear that in severe cases we might decide that a child cannot be admitted as we may not believe we have the facilities or specialist expertise required, but we expect to be able to admit most children. Where appropriate and within reason we will acquire equipment, train staff etc. to enhance our ability to meet a child’s needs and make our EYFS provision more welcoming to children of all abilities.

All children at IGS: Durham wear the same uniform and details are available from the school. Early Years children are expected to wear their uniform smartly and take a pride in their appearance (making allowances, of course, for their age!)

All children at IGS: Durham, including those in early years, bring a packed lunch to school and everyone eats together in a mixed, happy environment. Fruit and milk are provided mid-morning.

A full range of school policies is available on the school website. Other policies may be requested from the school and we undertake to give you a copy, probably immediately but certainly within one school day.

We aim to keep children safe at all times and believe we have a very secure building. In the unlikely event of a child going missing, we have a clear policy which is available on the school website and attached to the wall immediately adjacent to every teacher’s desk. In the event of a child not being collected from school, we have on file at least two (and usually three) contact telephone numbers for each child and will continue to telephone those numbers until we speak to someone; in the meantime, we will supervise the child within the school building.

Staff in EYFS are all trained in paediatric first aid and are all trained and qualified fire marshalls.

In case of emergency, the number to ring is 07885 426135 (or, failing that, 07984 619739).