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St Thomas' Church of England
Primary & Nursery School



At St. Thomas, we are passionate about providing our children with strong foundations for a lifetime of learning, that is rooted in a firm belief that every child should achieve their full potential in the image of God, and with a commitment to ensuring we develop the whole child. Jesus said 'I have come that you may have life in all its fullness' (John 10:10)


At St Thomas’ we help to prepare our children during the EYFS by introducing our them to whole school vision and values. Our curriculum is centred on the Early Years Foundation Stage 7 areas of learning, prime areas of Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development alongside the specific areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Knowledge and Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design. We are fully committed to the purpose and aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework 2021 that states:


"The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life."


Our curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced and is aligned with our whole school Lighthouse Curriculum. It encompasses the strands of Excellence, Experiences and Life Skills, Celebrating Diversity, Christian Values, Reading and Vocabulary and Knowledge Rich & Academic. These main strands underpin our EYFS curriculum, encompassing everything we aspire to achieve by the time our pupils leave us at St Thomas'. Underpinning all of this, we prioritise PSED, which is a golden thread, woven through every strand of our curriculum. We nurture curiosity, explicitly teach values of respect and responsibility, foster positive relationships and the development of independence in relation to self- help and wider life skills. We follow children’s interests and support every child to flourish and achieve their full potential.

PSED – ‘The Golden Thread’

At St Thomas’ C.E. we believe that the personal, social and emotional development of the children underpins every aspect of learning within our EYFS. It is vital to enable children to lead healthy, happy lives. We aim for:


  • Every child to leave the EYFS with a positive attitude about themselves and those around them. They are supported to with recognising, naming and regulating their emotions.
  • Every child to develop effective characteristics of learning, so children become resilient and persevere when they encounter challenges.
  • Every child to become more independent and make choices for themselves.
  • Every child to feel a valued member of the class and shape their own identity through an increasing awareness of their own needs and the needs of others.
  • Every child to develop the ability to make the right choices and learn to reflect on their own behaviour. They learn to compromise, co-operate, form strong friendships and develop positive dispositions to learning, cooperation and communication.


Personal, social and emotional development underpins all aspects of a child’s daily life at school. We have a rich variety of approaches which aim to support children’s progress towards the ELG. These include:


  • Regular circle times and our school wide use of our behaviour curriculum, which we call ‘The St. Thomas’ Way’. Alongside our Christian Values, we use ‘Heartsmart’ as a scheme to base our PSHE teaching on to ensure all aspects of a child’s PSED development are taught directly, focusing on one topic every half term.
  • British values are incorporated into our curriculum and we expose children to a range of cultures and beliefs through our ‘No Outsiders’ reading spine.
  • Staff encourage children in their development through modelling what is expected and supporting children in their interactions with others.
  • Our buddy approach, where children are 'buddied up' with a Year Six child and work with them during the year.
  • On entry and at the end of every term, we assess children’s levels of wellbeing and involvement by using the Leuven Scales. This helps us to identify children who may need extra support in accessing the experiences and opportunities in the setting and allows for activities and appropriate interventions to be put in place.
  • We have identified key milestones for the end of Nursery and Reception, which we call our EYFS Passport. This encourages children to develop essential life skills e.g. such as brushing your teeth, holding a knife and fork and getting dressed independently.
  • Priority is given to developing positive relationships with families. Parents are welcomed through a variety of workshops, regular stay and read/play sessions, Tapestry uploads, weekly newsletters and regular communication. This helps to inform parents of how their child learns in school and how they can support at home. Parents are encouraged to share children’s experiences and learning at home. As a result of this, we enhance our environment and introduce activities aligned with children’s interests to maximise engagement and learning.
  • At St. Thomas' all our children within EYFS take part in Forest Schools sessions and we are pleased to have a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner, who leads our sessions. Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a program that supports play, exploration and supported risk-taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.
  • The children learn about cultural differences within the local area, the region of Liverpool and Merseyside, the wider country, as well as begin to understand the wider world.  For example, during the Autumn term, families and people from our local community are invited into class to share with the children their experiences, often bringing with them authentic and everyday resources from their home or place of work.
  • Our Early Years curriculum is based on seasonal and predictable interests, as experienced practitioners, we know children will be curious to extend what they have already experienced and enable children to make links in what they have previously learned. This approach allows new vocabulary and knowledge to become embedded, since it places a strong emphasis on prior experience and retrieval.
  • Enrichment activities such as our Five Be experiences, trips and visitors are also planned to support children’s PSED e.g. children in EYFS plan and organise a tea party for their grandparents.

Our Lighthouse Curriculum - EYFS

Christian Values

We value each child as an individual. By teaching them about the Christian faith, through the example of Jesus, we give them opportunities to fulfil their potential in the image of God. Our staff consistently model Christian values so that children learn from their example. In accordance with the Church of England vision for education they can experience “life in all its fulness”.



We prioritise the needs of children as individuals and support them to thrive by focusing on the prime areas for learning. We build on our school ethos of continuously striving for excellence. We actively engage all our children ensuring everyone can achieve and be successful as learners. By the end of their time in our early years we aim for every child to have achieved their full potential, we believe this enables every child to flourish. When children are ready to leave Early Years, they are confident, independent learners who love to learn.


Reading and Vocabulary

We support all our children to develop a life-long love for reading and a secure foundation of communication and language skills. We ensure these are prioritised throughout early years. Children learn to identify environmental sounds and practise making and identifying familiar and new sounds. Children will begin to learn initial letter sounds during Nursery and this is built upon from the very start of Reception. Phonics is taught throughout EYFS and regular assessments ensure that progress is tracked to identify gaps and provide targeted support at the earliest opportunity. By the priority given to phonics throughout our EYFS, we lay the foundations for early reading, which prepares our children to become confident and fluent readers.

We emphasise talk-rich experiences through a well- planned, stimulating environment and through quality adult interactions. We immerse children in high quality language-rich texts enabling our children to be exposed to and to acquire a wide vocabulary. Carefully selected vocabulary is well thought out and modelled through adults during play and interactions with others. Vocabulary is shared with parents and as partners in learning; they are encouraged to model it explicitly at home.


Experiences and Life Skills

Our EYFS curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced through our ‘Key Milestones and Experiences’. We support our children to become self- aware, to develop positive relationships, to be independent in their thinking, to make choices as they play and to develop an understanding of themselves, their family, culture, the school, wider community and the world around them.

We assert that every child brings with them a ‘fund of knowledge’. We prioritise PSED and endeavour to establish positive relationships with our families. Children learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts with supportive adults modelling positive behaviours. This provides a secure platform, from which children can achieve at school and in later life. Our children embark on relevant carefully planned out experiences built upon extending their knowledge and understanding about the world around them. We value the questions children ask and use these to guide us. We believe children’s interests develop over time in the context of the relationships, people, places and experiences they encounter in their daily lives. We foster strong connections with families, building upon children’s starting points and enabling bespoke child centred learning to develop over time.


Celebrating Diversity

At St Thomas’ we are proud of the rich and varied experiences we offer our children. Through our own bespoke planned curriculum which priorities PSED we enable children to have a greater awareness of their own heritage, the community in which they live and an understanding of the cultures of others in the United Kingdom and across the wider world. Our carefully planned EYFS curriculum ensures that we celebrate the diverse nature of our world. We challenge stereotypes through the texts that we share and introduce to the children. High quality texts are purposefully chosen to help children learn about and make sense of the world around them. Children learn about the importance of celebrations and events from other communities within our local context and major world faiths of Hinduism and Judaism. This is enriched through visitors and culturally rich experiences e.g. Lunar New Year. These enable the children to develop a better understanding and appreciation for those with different beliefs and ways of life to themselves. They enable natural discussions around individuality, community, making choices and free within the context of our local area and alongside British values.


Knowledge Rich and Academic

Our well planned out ambitious sequenced curriculum identifies the essential knowledge that we want children to acquire. Core knowledge and skills have been carefully selected, by Subject Leaders and EYFS practitioners. This is identified within our Nursery and Reception Long Term Plans with careful consideration given to what goes next in the sequence of learning during Key Stage One nnd Key Stage Two. This knowledge helps to lay firm foundations for the children to build upon as they progress through St Thomas’. It extends children’s interests, sets high expectations, is diverse and challenging. Skilful adults intervene and support to inspire, extend and enhance learning.


Curriculum Overview

Building on the wider school lighthouse curriculum, we have designed our own, bespoke approach to our EYFS curriculum: ‘Looking In And Around’‘Looking Out And Beyond’ and ‘Looking Far And Wide’.  This is based upon research of child development of how children perceive themselves as an individual and the age at which they develop an understanding of self-awareness. Our children begin the school year by learning about themselves as an individual and as part of a group. They will learn about their own community and culture and will be able to identify themselves as part of a family, as part of a school family and Church community. Staff spend time finding out about our families and this is shared with children and parents, so that we can each appreciate the various contributions made by our families to society.  By giving children the opportunity to develop a strong sense of self, we are then able to support children in learning about the wider community: by learning about different parts of the UK, different cultures and ways of life.  Indeed, they are then looking beyond their immediate family and community.  They are, 'looking out and beyond'.  By the summer term, the children have acquired a good understanding of different ways of life, different professions, different customs and culture and they finish the year by 'looking far and wide' – learning about the different geographical elements of a country that is not in the United Kingdom.  Children then have strong foundations of culture capital, as they enter Key Stage One.




The seven areas of learning contain seventeen Early Learning Goals (ELGs) and evidence of the children’s achievement is gathered for each of these. Evidence for judgements is collected through observations from the continuous provision, observations during focused activities and some summative assessment tasks. Much of this evidence is collated using ‘Tapestry’.

  • Observations are shared with parents and children’s progress is shared with parents/carers twice a year through Parent’s Evenings, an interim report and finally in an end of year report.
  • Progress in Nursery and Reception is tracked termly and children are assessed as meeting the expected levels of development or not yet reaching the expected levels of development for that period of learning. This allows for effective future planning.
  • Parents are encouraged to help build up a picture of their child by commenting on activities or progress at home, through home learning activities, tapestry and reading records.
  • The children in nursery are assessed from our first contact with them. Before the children start, the parents are given the ‘Starting at St. Thomas’ Nursery’ booklet to find out the child’s early years experiences and their basic skills in Numeracy and Literacy.
  • Children are assessed on entry to Reception using NFER Baseline assessments primarily in Mathematics and Communication, Language and Literacy (CLL).
  • Phonics progress is monitored through ongoing formative assessment, initial and summative phonic    assessments at the end of a sound set. (Read Write Inc.)


Assessment at the End of EYFS

  • The EYFS profile is completed for each child by the end of June in the Reception year. The profile provides information about each child’s knowledge, understanding, abilities against expected levels and readiness for Year 1. This assessment is completed against the criteria set out in the Early Learning Goals. Practitioners must assess whether a child is working at the expected level or whether they have not yet met the expected level.
  • Profiles are completed for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities although reasonable adjustments are made as necessary.
  • Profiles and additional commentary on characteristics of learning are shared with Year 1 teachers to inform planning and preparation for entry to KS1.
  • The school has a statutory requirement to report outcomes from the EYFS profile to the local authority which then has a duty to return this data to the relevant Government department. The local authority conducts moderation of the profiles regularly, on a rotational basis, with each school in its catchment.
  • Parents of children in Nursery and Reception receive a written report at the end of the Summer Term outlining the children’s progress and attainment across the Prime and Specific areas and characteristics of effective learning.


Planning for interests and prior knowledge

Our curriculum is planned to allow time and space for children to build on prior learning experiences.  Adults are open to following the children's interests, ensuring that play is carefully scaffolded and activities are matched to children's needs. Tapestry is used by parents and staff to communicate children's key learning.  Staff can gain insight into children’s learning out of school, so that we can then provide resources and learning experiences that enrich a child’s skills and knowledge, considering prior knowledge and experiences. Children have ownership in their learning and become skilled in disseminating their own knowledge and experiences with their peers.


Areas of Learning


Communication and Language

This covers all aspects of language development and provides the foundations for literacy skills. Children’s developing competence in speaking and listening is focused on. We aim to extend and enrich the children’s vocabulary through story time, rhymes, role-play and group discussions.  Children are encouraged to share their own experiences through speaking and acting out events in imaginative play and talking about their own ideas. They are encouraged to take part in class activities such as working with puppets, saying rhymes and singing songs together.

As Voice 21 school, we aim to provide meaningful contexts for communication and language in EYFS, which supports and develops children’s oral language and communication skills and encourage them to be resilient and independent learners. We use the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) to develop enabling environments in our indoor and outdoor provision with high quality communication & language interactions, encouraging sustained shared thinking.


Physical Development

Children are given the opportunities to move to music, use equipment, develop and practice their fine and gross motor skills. They develop an increasing understanding of how their body works and what they need to do to keep themselves healthy; this is done both indoors and outdoors. In additional to the opportunities for physical development throughout the continuous provision, all children throughout EYFS will have a weekly physical education lesson, which supports the progress of fundamental movement skills as well as taking part in our ‘Daily Mile’.


Language and Literacy Development

Children in Nursery learn about phonics during the Autumn term, when they take part in Phase One phonics activities. From the Summer Term, in Nursery and throughout Reception, we then follow a systematic phonics scheme (Read Write Inc programme) to teach phonics and reading. All literacy work is based around a ‘vehicle text’, that is of high quality.  The units of work centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts that support a wide range of writing opportunities.  Many of the ‘vehicle texts’ used, also have strong thematic links to the other areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.


Key vocabulary is well-planned and is shared with parents for each topic. During weekly meetings, staff collaborate to plan relevant and ambitious vocabulary, which is displayed within each classroom and is used by all staff during play, ensuring a consistent approach in the teaching of key vocabulary.


Mathematics Development

Maths is incorporated into our continuous provision and practitioners have a good understanding of early maths. Maths coverage in nursery is carefully mapped out to support children to develop their understanding of the number system, of comparison and cardinality, as well as patterns, measures and spatial reasoning. In Nursery, children are introduced to the ‘Number of the Week’ concept as part of a Mastery approach, alongside the use of rhyme and stories. This is built on throughout Reception, when children are introduced to the whole-school Maths approach, using 'Maths No problem' as well as daily maths activities and opportunity to develop mathematical skills in Continuous Provision.


Expressive Arts and Design

Children will explore expressive arts and design through our EYFS across three strands: natural materials recreated, creative design and imaginative role play. Children will explore these areas of the curriculum by using a range of materials, tools and techniques using their imagination and creativity, and by experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. Opportunities to do this are provided through art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design, in which children represent their unique thoughts, ideas and feelings. Children have the opportunity to work with specialists, such as our artist in residence.


Understanding the World

All children are encouraged to become independent learners, exploring and investigating to solve problems and misconceptions. Children are provided, through both adult-led and continuous provision enhancements, with relevant and purposeful opportunities to explore the world around them. Children are encouraged to independently explore, to solve problems, to investigate, to make decisions and experiment.  They will learn about living things, their environment, the world, history and the people who are important in their lives.  All children are exposed to the wider world around them including different cultures, foods, religion, languages and ways of life. Children are exposed to a wide variety of first-hand experiences to ensure children are immersed in their learning.



Our Environment

“We value space, to create a handsome environment and its potential to inspire social, effective and cognitive learning. The space is an aquarium that mirrors the ideas and values of the people who live in it.” (Loris Malaguzzi)

Our learning environment is influenced by Reggio Emilio and is carefully designed, and a calm and purposeful, space to play alone with partner or as part of a bigger group. Communication friendly areas are clearly defined to enable staff to promote language and quality interactions. They are skilful when questioning and challenge children through their interactions. They foster curiosity, ask open ended questions and extend children’s thinking. They make careful observations and use children’s interests to extend learning. They engage in sustained shared thinking and skilfully question to challenge. We offer a balance between open-ended resources that provoke critical thinking and imagination, as well as cosy nooks that inspire awe and wonder and an eagerness to explore. The organisation of resources is purposeful, so that our children may develop the characteristics of effective learning, which are essential for lifelong learning and the intrinsic motivation that we nurture in our children. All staff are trained to a high level and are experienced EYFS practitioners.

Nursery Environment

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Reception Environment

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As a result of our Early Years curriculum we want our children to be:

  • Confident with a positive self-image and to value others as being made in the image of God
  • Independent, resilient learners, intrinsically motivated to take risks and challenge themselves
  • Good friends who play, learn alongside from and respect others
  • Able to self-regulate emotions, talk about their feelings and those of others
  • Confident effective communicators as they play, learn and develop
  • Focussed learners who persevere and have aspirations as members of the whole school community
  • Life- long readers who read for pleasure
  • Confident using phonics to be successful readers and writers who mark make/ rite with confidence and purpose
  • Confident mathematicians, valuing the beauty and usefulness of this in our world
  • Show respect for people of other faiths and beliefs, valuing the difference it makes to their lives.: a deepening understanding of the greater world and the experiences within it.
  • Equipped with life skills which will enrich their lives and development:
  • Manage their own hygiene and personal needs for toileting, tooth brushing, handwashing and independent dressing.

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Contact Us

Kenyons Lane, Lydiate
Liverpool, Merseyside, L31 0BP

Telephone: 0151 531 9955