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Hugo Meynell

CofE (VC) Primary School

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Learning in Early Years

Our Vision

In the Early Years at Hugo Meynell, we believe in providing children with a safe and stimulating environment where they flourish. At Hugo Meynell Primary School, we are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful grounds where our children are able to investigate, learn and thrive.  We pride ourselves on listening to children and those who care for them and using this information to personalise each child’s learning.  Learning should be fun and we strongly believe in first hand learning and valuing the importance of the environment to develop children’s thinking, language and problem solving skills.


We believe that every child is unique and should be treated so, allowing them the opportunity to develop and learn in a safe and nurturing environment where play and learning is combined.  We understand the importance of practical learning experiences and strive to equip children with a love of learning and a natural curiosity.

We are committed to giving our children the best possible start to their school life, teaching them skills which ensure their wellbeing now and success in the future.


Learning in our Foundation Stage

Our learning is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which is split into seven areas of learning: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Communication and Language, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.  We use a range of cross-curricular continuous provision to ensure that the children have rich and rounded learning experiences, guided by the children’s interests and abilities.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning underpin everything we do, as they help develop the children’s skills as independent learners and enhance essential attributes for long term success such as perseverance, problem solving and critical thinking.  The Characteristics of Effective Learning are divided into three categories: ‘playing and learning’, ‘active learning’ and ‘creative and thinking critically’.


English - Reading & Writing

During English, children will explore a range of books and stories linked to our topics.  This will support children with their rapidly growing vocabulary and it will expose them to new and unfamiliar words and their meanings. Children will answer questions about texts and will discuss what they have read with an adult.  They will explore writing for different purposes including labels and captions, retelling stories, writing lists and simple instructions as well as creating short non-fiction pages.  Children will then develop the ability to compose, verbally recall and write their name, words, phrases and simple sentences that can be read by an adult.  In Reception, children will learn to use finger spaces, capital letters and full stops in their writing and also develop the ability to sound out new words for spelling.



Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes.

  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make such as 'sh' or 'oo'; and

  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.


Children can then use this knowledge to 'de-code' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.  Children receive daily phonics sessions in Early Years and KS1. Those children who require phonics in KS2 also receive Phonics interventions to support their reading.


At Hugo we have adopted a phonics scheme called The Teach Hub Letters and Sounds.  They have developed the scheme to match the National Curriculum expectations for both phonics and spelling.  


The scheme includes:

  • Full overview mapping document of coverage from EYFS to end of Key Stage One that is progressive and sequential. 

  • Phonics and Spelling teaching and desk charts for EYFS

  • Weekly units of work for Phase 2 to Phase 5 that include a teaching overview, revision, oral blending, teaching objective, word examples, segmenting, blending, handwriting, reading and spelling practice, pseudoword practice, sound button practice, daily PowerPoint (or PDF) and task sheet. 

  • High-frequency words listed within phases, linked to the Common Exception words from the National Curriculum. 

  • Flashcards for each Phase including word examples. 


The scheme is splits learning into 6 Phonic Phases.

  • Phase 1 develops children's ability to hear and distinguish sounds around them. It focuses on oral blending and segmenting and rhyming.

  • Phase 2 introduces letter sounds for reading and writing with a set of letters being taught weekly. It begins to look at blending for reading and segmenting for writing. A selection of 'common exception words are taught during Phase 2.

  • Phase 3 introduces the rest of the individual letter sounds and diagraphs. Children will continue blending and segmenting and further tricky words are taught. Children will also learn the letter names of the alphabet during this phase.

  • Phase 4 helps build on the previous understanding of blending and segmenting and children gain experience of using words that have adjacent consonants such as trap, milk. No new sounds are taught.



Learning in mathematics in our EYFS is highly focussed on developing understanding through the use of concrete objects. Pictorial and abstract concepts are taught and used to extend learning, always linked to the concrete objects. Teachers have a high level of understanding of how pupils learn to enable them to challenge and ensure learning is embedded, including routinely checking for understanding and therefore knowing what children's next steps are and how practitioners can modify activities or the environment to ensure their success.

Children will start to develop their understanding of number and shape; they will do this through the exploration of the world around them and through active learning.  Children will be encouraged to investigate number both indoors and outdoors through play and they will be given a wide range of opportunities to develop critical thinking skills by solving simple problems practically. In Reception, key skills will include learning to count, recognise and order numbers to 20 and to investigate the meaning of number and different ways we can represent it.