Barnwell Academy

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Early Years

Meet the Staff

Mrs R Vu Miss E Brown

Click here for our Early Years Policy


At Barnwell Academy our aim is to provide the best possible start in life that enables all children to fulfil their potential. We understand the importance of early learning and development and recognise the crucial role that early year’s education must play in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based. 

We believe all children should have the opportunity to develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally in an enabling and inclusive environment. We aim for our children to be confident, independent, successful learners who believe in themselves and interact positively with others.

We offer a curriculum which is aspirational and rich in wonder and memorable experiences. We strive to provide a stimulating environment which promotes exciting opportunities, challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning. We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our early years curriculum. We believe that the correct mix of adult directed, and child-initiated play ensures the best outcomes for pupils.
Warm and positive relationships between staff and children, consistent routines and strong relationships with parents are key.

It is our intent that all children will receive the teaching of early mathematics and early reading to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills that will enable them to continue their learning journey into the primary curriculum.


At Barnwell Academy our early years practice is underpinned by the four guiding principles set out in the Early Years Framework (DfE, 2020). These are:

  • 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.


Our Early Years Curriculum encompasses the seven areas of development set out in Development Matters (DfE, 2021): personal, social and emotional development, communication and language, physical Development, literacy, maths, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. It is taught through topics which are enriched through real life experiences and enabled through trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts and artefacts which are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. The curriculum remains flexible to enable us to respond to children’s interests and needs and ensure it remains stimulating to our cohorts of children.

We prioritise creating a ‘language rich’ environment using songs, nursery rhymes, stories and providing time for quality interactions between adults and between peers. Trained staff ensure that interactions are positive and timely allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace in order to become confident communicators. Children are encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books and the systematic teaching of phonics. The children learn nursery rhymes and develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.

Our school environment has been developed to provide the opportunity to learn both indoors and outdoors. Children’s knowledge and skills are developed through a wide range of practical and sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, sandpit and natural areas. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult facilitated play. In early years our environment, routines and interactions are planned for and intentional.

As part of the teaching and learning process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made based on accumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.

Strong partnerships with parents and carers are created through our open-door policy where staff listen carefully to the development and home experiences of the child. Parents receive regular curriculum information through our school website, newsletters and social media. A range of workshops are delivered throughout the year to help parents support their child’s learning and development both academically and socially. Home/school diaries and the home/school engagement app MarvellousMe is used to provide weekly updates to parents on their child’s attainment and progress.

At Barnwell Academy we meet the welfare requirements laid down in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all our children.


Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children develop the characteristics of effective learning of playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. These learning behaviours ensure children are confident to take risks, draw on their experiences to improve and discuss their successes and areas for development with resilience and determination to successfully continue their learning in Year 1.

Children make excellent progress from their own on entry starting points in the seven areas of development. They have good early reading and maths skills which equips them to be school ready and develop their knowledge and skills across the primary curriculum.

during their time with us and we strive to ensure children attain the national expectation for good level of development by the end of reception.



Reading in the Early Years

Visit our reading and phonics page to know how we teach reading at Barnwell Academy. To help your child at home view our quick videos below.