OFSTED 2022..."Pupils describe West Horndon as being a big family. Staff know pupils well. Pupils are proud to be part of such a welcoming school...Leaders have high aspirations for all pupils. Pupils rise to meet these expectations. All staff share this vision. Leaders make sure pupils have a wide set of experiences. These help pupils develop into confident individuals. Pupils develop their self-esteem through extra responsibilities...Leaders have developed an inspirational curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of pupils at West Horndon. ..The whole school environment is a celebration of language and vocabulary...Pupils are well behaved in lessons and around school. They know the school rules...Leaders consider staff’s workload and well-being. Staff enjoy working at the school and feel supported by leaders." Pupils do not disrupt lessons. Pupils always do their best and want to make their teachers proud of what they can achieve. 2024 New Intake Prospective Parent Tours 2nd Oct at 10.30am, 30th Nov at 9.30am and 11 Jan at 9.30am Please call the school office or email admin@westhorndon.essex.sch.uk to book a space.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Development Matters in the Early Years 
The early years of a child’s life are an important stage where the foundations for future development are established. In the early years, we foster the child’s own interests, needs and stages of development and offer activities which extend, enrich and develop potential both inside and outside the classroom. Purposefully planned, playful activities and first hand experiences are the key to learning, laying the foundations for the Early Years Curriculum. There is a mixture and an appropriate balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities, depending on the children’s age and stage of development. The Framework is based on four guiding principles which help to shape the Early Years Foundation Stage Policy.
  • A Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning and Development
Our curriculum is carefully planned to ensure progression and continuity of skills in seven areas of learning. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. 

Prime and Specific Areas of Learning

There are three prime areas:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

There are also four specific areas through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design
Characteristics of Effective Learning
In planning and guiding children’s learning, staff reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
  • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
  • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Working in Partnership 

We believe that parents and carers are children’s first and most enduring educators. Working with parents and carers within the Early Years has a positive impact on children’s development and learning. 

In relation to the importance of communication with parents in the EYFS, The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) seeks to provide ‘partnership’ working between practitioners and parents and carers. We endeavour to build ‘relationships’ with parents and carers, keep them up-to-date with their child’s progress, respond to observations that they share through Tapestry and Class Dojo, involve them in assessments and support them to guide their child’s development at home.

Over 70% of children’s lives are spent, not in a setting, but with their family and the wider community. Therefore, home and community must be recognised as significant learning environments in the lives of children which is why we are keen for these to be shared on Tapestry. 

Promoting Independence in the Early Years
Maria Montessori believes that experiencing independence is not just a game for children, saying “It’s a task they must accomplish in order to grow.” Building independence is part of an individual’s social skills; self-reliance allows the child to feel they have control over their life. Child independence means they no longer feel completely impotent and vulnerable to external hazards.

Throughout the reception year, we work to support the children’s growing independence and self-help skills. They are positively encouraged to do things for themselves such as taking ownership of their ;earning experiences and selecting appropriate resources.