We recognise the importance of Early Years education in preparing children for future learning and life experiences, building on what children already know and can do. Children who join St Christopher’s School at the Early Years Foundation Stage, typically have complex learning needs that are unable to be met in a mainstream setting. Within our specialist setting, children receive personalised learning experiences with interest and engagement at the heart of all activities. St Christopher’s EYFS curriculum offer is ambitious, broad, balanced, and centred on individual needs and interests. 


As a Special School setting, we acknowledge that “the aim cannot simply be to ‘narrow the gap’. For some children, ‘narrowing the gap’ and enabling a child to ‘catch up’, are not appropriate expectations” (p10 A Celebratory Approach to SEND Assessment in the Early Years). However, we ensure that high standards and expectations are paramount, focusing on the best possible outcomes for each child as an individual. 



The EYFS curriculum is driven by the child, as it is centred on what the child needs, knows and can do. Each child has personal learning intentions, derived from a variety of sources (EHCP, SCERTS, Routes for Learning, Early Learning Goals, Springboard curriculum and further professional reports). This ensures that learning and provision is relevant to each child. The learning intentions facilitate small steps of progress to be observed and built upon, based on each child’s starting points, motivators and engagement. This ensures reflective practice to provide support, stretch and challenge.


The EYFS has four themes which determine the requirements for the teaching and learning of very young children. 

A Unique Child

At St Christopher’s School, we recognise that every child develops at their own pace and in their own individual way. We value the diversity of individuals within the school and believe that every child matters. All children attending the setting have an EHCP in place, documenting their additional needs and the provision required to meet the identified needs. 


Positive Relationships

We recognise that children learn to be strong, confident, and independent by forming secure relationships with the adults around them. We work hard to develop caring, respectful professional relationships with the children and their families. 


Enabling Environments

The environment plays a key role in enabling, supporting and extending the children’s development, where they can feel secure and challenged to learn. We provide indoor and outdoor environments for children to safely explore and strongly believe meaningful learning takes place when children are engaged, stimulated and highly motivated.


Areas of Learning and Development

All areas of learning are important and interconnected. There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS:


Communication and Language

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Physical Development



Understanding the World  

Expressive Arts and Design    


Characteristics of Effective Learning

We recognise that children have different learning styles, develop in different ways and at different rates. At St Christopher’s School, we create an attractive, welcoming, and stimulating learning environment which encourages children to explore, investigate and learn through first-hand experience. Along with a focus on engagement, we encourage children to play and explore, be active learners, and problem-solve by creating and thinking critically.



Children in Early Years achieve the best possible outcomes. The opportunities that are provided to develop their knowledge and skills are carefully tailored to individual needs. Impact is measured in a variety of different ways. We ensure that all our assessment methods are purposeful and directly impact the children.


Practitioners are continually encouraged to reflect on observations using the 5 areas of engagement (exploration, realisation, anticipation, persistence and initiation). We use our reflective feedback to inform and personalise planning and to make sure our core curriculum offer is engaging for all.



EYFS Profile and Reporting to Parents / Carers

The EYFS Profile is a document produced at the end of the child’s Reception year. This provides a written summary of the child’s attainment in relation to the Early Learning Goals (ELG’s). For each ELG it will clearly state whether the child is meeting expected levels of development, or not yet reaching expected levels (emerging.) In addition, there are other ways of summarising your child’s progress that are used throughout the EYFS provision - these include measuring progress against the PLI’s (personalised learning intentions) and documenting their interest and engagement in a wide range of learning experiences (The Engagement Model). This information is shared with parents and/or carers via Tapestry (online learning journal). We actively encourage parents and/or carers to upload information, photos, and videos to contribute to their child’s learning journal.