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We're thrilled to confirm that our Ofsted report has been published - Outstanding in all areas!

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Our Prospective Nursery and Reception Parent tours are now open for bookings. Please see our Admissions page on how to book.

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We are thrilled to confirm that we have been awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark. Go to our Inclusion page to read our report.

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We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the Quality Mark Gold for History following an assessment carried out by the Historical Association on 7th February 2023.

Barrow Hedges Primary School

Adult Led Learning

In this section...

Planning for Teaching and Learning At Barrow Hedges

We use a long-term plan for Nursery and for Reception, developed by the EYFS Leader, based on the EYFS Statutory Framework 2021, Development Matters 2021 and Birth to Five Matters documents and guidance. This long-term plan shows adult led themes and provides skills progression for planning. The skills progression provides Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each term.  Using the KPIs for planning ensures that all children make good progress towards end of year expectations. Medium term, weekly and daily planning are all learning led to enable children to meet the KPIs. Daily Structures support the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum. Practitioners reshape provision, provide additional learning materials and deploy adult resources flexibly to ensure that no child is left behind. 

See this table for our adult led themes:

Adult Themes Include:

Yr Aut 1 Aut 2 Spr 1 Spr 2 Sum 1 Sum 2

Can I Make

A New Friend?

What Can I 


How Can I Make


What Changes Can I Spot? Can I Tell You a Story? Can I Become a Writer?

Don't Eat the Teacher, Pirates Ahoy! & Where Does Our Food Come From?

Did Dragons Exist? Can a Penguin Live in a Hot Place? Are Eggs Alive? Can I Become an Author? Do You Like to be Beside the Seaside?

As the children explore each theme, the practitioners skilfully weave the children's interests, ideas, knowledge skills and understanding, building upon existing knowledge and providing further challenge to ensure that children's developmental needs are being met. 

Click here to view the Long Term Plan that forms the basis for our Nursery Curriculum.

Click here to view the Long Term Plan that forms the basis for our Reception Curriculum.

Daily Structures

Structures change to meet the needs of the children as they grow and develop throughout the Nursery and Reception year. For example, at the beginning of the academic year in Reception, pupils self-register and then play immediately. The children are supported to explore the environment to see what’s available, to select the resources they would like, to use them appropriately and to tidy the area when they have finished. Children are in control of their own learning and can develop their own interests further, supporting them to be happy and engaged and to have high levels of well-being. When the children are happily settled at school we introduce carpet times where the children learn together. The length of each session increases as the children mature.

At Barrow Hedges the pupil’s day or session is structured with an excellent balance of child and adult led learning opportunities. All pupils learn in a variety of ways including; whole class learning sessions, small group work and 1:1 work. The biggest majority of the time is spent with each child engaging in play.

Examples of Adult Led Learning in Nursery

In Nursery the children learn in key worker groups. They come together for small group sessions covering all aspects of development from fine-motor control to Phase 1 phonics.

Themed Learning Time

Themed learning time is a fun and engaging session where children build upon previous experiences and understanding to learn new things and to try new activities relating to their interests. They participate fully and actively in a variety of engaging learning experiences. For example, when exploring the story, The Tiger who Came to Tea, the teacher dressed as a tiger and the children tried different teas to share with the tiger. When learning about celebrations the children planned their own birthday party for Laura (the nursery puppet friend). They had a bouncy castle in Nursery, made cakes and played games following the children’s ideas and suggestions.

Key Skills

Every day, the children participate in a key skills session to support the development of communication and language, personal, social and emotional skills, fine motor control, mathematics, elements of understanding the world and expressive arts and design.  This session is planned carefully to meet the children needs and next steps in these areas. 

Examples of Adult Led Learning in Reception

In Reception the children have structured times of the day when they come together to learn as small group or as a whole class.

Themed Learning Time:

Themed learning time in Reception is also a fun and engaging session. Children experience new learning about various themes and topics. Teachers pose a question, for example, ‘Does a penguin live in a hot place?’ or ‘Do dragons exist?’

The teacher’s plan using the children’s ideas, building upon existing knowledge, skills and understanding, and to provide further challenge. For example, in our ‘Are eggs alive?’ topic the children watched chicks hatch. They made observations of how they changed over time. They built a chicken run so they could race the chicks together. When learning about the Polar Regions the children went on a polar expedition and wrote their own books; Explorer

Explorer, what can you see?  Themed Learning time supports learning across all seven areas of the curriculum.

Number Time 

Number time supports the children to develop all aspects of numeracy. Learning intentions support the stages of development in mathematics. The teachers use the Mastery Maths approach to develop a deep and secure knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts. The teachers follow and ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’ approach. The teacher’s model learning clearly, the children then practice new learning and then apply strategies taught independently in each session.

Story Time in Nursery and Reception

Story time is a special time in Reception and Nursery where we come together to enjoy stories, poems and rhymes that helps us to remember our learning, to consolidate themed learning using information books and listen to stories for pleasure.

Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. Characters become friends. Reading skills are important for success in their future lives.

Reading helps children with their confidence levels, helps them to understand and cope with feelings and emotions, and supports language development. The use of props, sound effects and actions encourage the children to join in with texts aloud and to fully engage with the content.

In both Nursery and Reception small group or 1:1 adult/child ratio work supports any identified next steps and observed misconceptions or provides further challenge. Teachers will actively re-shape provision, provide additional learning materials or deploy adult resources flexibly to ensure that no child is left behind.

Phonics in Nursery and Reception

At Barrow Hedges, we have created our own robust systematic synthetic phonics programme using Pearson’s Bug Club Phonics progression of sounds and decodable books. We prioritise the importance of teaching phonics by starting with Phase 1 in Nursery and consolidating this knowledge in Reception, before moving on to Phase 2.

Nursery Phonics

Children learn Phase 1 Phonics in Nursery:

  1. Environmental Sounds
  2. Instrumental Sounds
  3. Body Percussion
  4. Voice Sounds
  5. Rhythm and Rhyme
  6. Alliteration
  7. Oral Blending and Segmenting

In Nursery, children become aware of sounds in their environment through play and exploration. They go on listening walks to see what they can hear. Children will be able to identify sounds such as cars, emergency services, birds, wind and talking for example.

Children then move on to instrumental sounds. Children learn to identify a range of musical instruments such as a drum, bells and a shaker and will notice the difference between loud and quiet sounds. As this sound discrimination continues to develop, children will be able to use their own bodies to make sounds and we call this body percussion. We explore what noises/sounds we can make with our mouth, hands and feet, alongside singing lots of songs and action rhymes.

Then children move on to distinguishing between different voice sounds and will explore using deep, squeaky, whispering, happy voices for example. We use mirrors and look at our different faces for when we make different sounds. Later, Rhythm and Rhyme is developed. Rhythm is when we can hear a beat in a song, nursery rhyme or poem. Rhyme is when you can hear the same sound in different words. The children notice whether the words sound the same at the beginning or at the end. Children love to play ‘Silly Soup’ where different objects or pictures have to rhyme (sound the same either at the beginning or the end). For example, ‘dog’, ‘frog’ and ‘log’. This then leads children on to learning about Alliteration.

Alliteration is when more than one word begins with the same sound. ‘Sammy slithers.’ Both words begin with the ‘s’ sound. Another example is, ‘big, brown bear.’ Children learn to play a range of alliteration games including ‘Bertha goes on the bus’ and ‘I-spy’ activities. This also develops children’s ability to distinguish between initial sounds by hearing them.

Finally, children learn about ‘Oral blending and segmenting’. This is where children learn to say a word, then stretch the word to hear and say all of the sounds within the word. For example, in the word ‘cat’, children will hear ‘c-a-t’ and know there are three sounds that make up the word cat. Children will also practise and identify initial sounds in words through playing lots of different games with objects.

Reception Phonics

Children learn Phase 2 and Phase 3 Phonics in Reception. We follow the sound progression from ‘Bug Club’ Phonics books. Please see the order below:

Phase 2

Unit 1: s, a, t, p

Unit 2: i, n, m, d

Unit 3: g, o, c, k

Unit 4: ck, e, u, r

Unit 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

Phase 3

Unit 6: j, v, w, x

Unit 7: y, z, zz, qu

Unit 8: ch, sh, soft th, hard th, ng

Unit 9: ai, ee, igh, oa, long oo, short oo

Unit 10: ar, or, ur, ow, oi

Unit 11: ear, air, ure, er

We use a multisensory approach to enable our children to know more and remember more by bringing the learning to life through our use of songs, stories, videos and physical props to enhance our teaching. Children in Reception have an awareness of technical vocabulary such as phoneme, grapheme, digraph (two letters together which makes one sound), trigraphs (three letters together which makes one sound), phoneme buttons and phoneme lines and use this knowledge in their daily phonics lessons. We support our children to segment and blend words in order to decode captions and sentences. Children track the text by using their ‘pointy finger’ which enables them to know where they are when they are reading. Children are encouraged to re-read their sentences back once the words have been decoded, in order to build fluency and support children’s automatic sight reading, as they rely on their segmenting and blending skills less. Children develop their comprehension skills through using picture clues and their understanding of the text to answer questions. Children are encouraged to talk about what is happening in the story at different points, to explain how they how a character is feeling and what they think will happen next for example. Children make fantastic progress in Phonics in Reception and by the end of the year, the vast majority of children are able to read and understand simple sentences containing at least 10 digraphs.

Here's an example of phonics teaching in Reception:

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Supporting Transitions

Children are well supported throughout the year to cope with change. Structures are flexible. They change to meet the needs of the children as we prepare them for life in Reception or in Year 1. For example, in Nursery the children are taught to discriminate sounds so that they are well prepared to hear sounds in words in Reception. In Reception children join the whole school at break times and lunchtimes in the summer term. Both Nursery and Reception make use of the whole-school facilities such as the Studio Hall and the School field as appropriate. The EYFS is very much a part of the whole-school. In Reception children participate in P.E lessons from Spring 1. Reception pupils come to school in their P.E kit so that the focus of the lesson is to develop P.E skills. In the summer term the children change into their P.E kits so that they are fully independent, ready for Year 1.