At Villa Real School our pupils in Early Years follow an individualised curriculum which supports children to work towards the new revised Early Learning Goals.

Villa Real also includes their bespoke REAL curriculum due to the nature of the pupils’ / students’ additional challenges, which covers the 4 areas of ‘REAL’-

R- Regulation

E- Emotional

A-Access to the World

L- Learning


The Early Years curriculum is play and experience based. We provide a safe and

secure learning environment where independence is encouraged and good

relationships are key between staff, pupils and the family/carers.

​We have well developed indoor and outdoor play facilities. All of the pupils in Early years

have access to the Hydrotherapy Pool, Multi-Sensory Room and Soft Play where

appropriate. We also offer Forest Schools and Outdoor Education which enables our

pupils to be learners beyond the classroom and develop an inquisitive approach in varied

real-life situations. Additional input is available as required from therapy interventions such

as Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy and Speech and Language Therapy.


The staff working in the Early Years are committed to the progress of the pupil as an individual and to share progress with parents/carers through the use of web-based recording programmes which families and carers can access.​

Our staff have a breadth of expertise and knowledge and provide a wide range of opportunities for your child to learn and develop. Early Literacy and Early Mathematics are built into their day, preparing them for formal teaching beyond EYFS.

Some of our Early Years classes are mixed with pupils from Key Stage One. These pupils follow Pathway 2 or 3 in order to motivate and inspire pupils ensuring they have a rich and enhanced learning experience whilst at Villa Real.


The EYFS provision is available through all three streams of our school cohorts;

  • Conductive Education

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Severe Learning Disability


This allows for a more personalised approach to learning where all academic, communication, sensory and physical needs are met utilising the relevant teaching strategies.


​The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework sets the standards that all early years’ provisions must meet to ensure children learn, develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

Our EYFS promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’, providing a broad and balanced foundation of skills and knowledge for good future progress through school and life thereafter.


​Villa Real’s EYFS follows the current research that suggests we need a mixed approach to working with young children in the EYFS.

This involves getting the learning environment right for the children, to enable them to play, make choices, and develop. This ranges from standing back and letting then develop their own play, with adults following the child’s lead, sometimes stepping in to help solve problems, extend play ideas and vocabulary and sometimes the adults directly teaching a child something they need to learn.

For most of the time, the best practice is in the middle. The following graphic from Learning, Playing and Interacting (DFE, 2009) illustrates this:


Additional strategies used:


  • Grouping by individual ability 

  • Total communication approach, including speech and other alternative and augmentative communication methods – where ALL methods are valued equally. Examples of AAC include, Makaton signing, PECs, PODD, objects of reference, Tassels

  • Task series built into their day as part of CE provision

  • Play based learning

  • Supporting individual choice over activities and play

  • Adults modelling how to play

  • Adults scaffolding play as learning opportunities and expanding their repertoire

  • Whole class work

  • Practical activities

  • Multi-sensory experiences

  • TEACCH Approaches

  • Community visits

  • Outdoor play / learning environments​

  • Mixed ability groups 

  • 1:1 Support for some individuals


From unique starting points, our pupils and students make individualised progress at a challenging and appropriate pace, in all areas of the curriculum. This progress is measured against bespoke REAL targets set termly, which are linked to the objectives of their EHCP.


In Early Years, our pupils are assessed on REAL progress, Development Matters advice and the reformed Statutory Framework for the EYFS.


Parents and carers are kept informed of progress through parent / carer stay and play (COVID-19 alternatives planned), parents’ evenings, CTM/TAFs, Earwig, written reports, home school diaries and the statutory annual review.


More formal, summative assessment takes place twice in the Revised EYFS. Firstly, when a child is between 24 and 36 months – outcomes of this assessment are recorded and parents and multiagency professionals use the information gained to identify a child’s strengths and their learning needs.


The second assessment takes place towards the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage when children are in the final term of the school year where they turn 5yrs old by Aug 31st. Staff report to the local Education Authority as part of your child’s Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) – showing the levels different children have achieved in the seven areas of learning and development in the Revised EYFS.


All pupils are entitled to a broad, balanced, differentiated and relevant curriculum appropriate to their individual needs. The curriculum is structured and sequenced to ensure progression and continuity for all, based upon the statutory EYFS framework.


Villa Real School offer 15hr Nursery placements within EYFS provisions from 2 years of age and 30hrs from age 3years and fulltime to the end of Reception, the year in which they turn 5yrs old.

We have the potential to accommodate N-YR in all three cohorts of our school, SLD, ASD and CE.


Villa Real School EYFS provision is covered within the whole school policy and procedures for Child Protection and Safeguarding. Please see the policies section for additional information.


Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential, from whatever their unique starting points may be. Children’s development at this early stage of life are the building blocks for the rest of their life and can have a major impact upon their future life chances.


The four guiding principles that shape our early years setting are;

  • Every child is unique, they are constantly learning and adapt our teaching to their needs.

  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships with their peers, staff and families

  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who are responsive to their individual needs and interests. Staff will build these interests into their learning. Children benefit from strong partnerships between staff and parents and / or carers

The importance of learning and development is key to our provision. Children come to school from different developmental starting points and learn at different rates.


Our play-based and sensory curriculum for Early Years Foundation Stage learners aims to supports pupils:


  • To begin to recognise their thoughts and feelings

  • To develop a love of learning and exploration

  • To learn how to play with each other

  • To understand their local environment

  • To learn to communicate with their friends and other known people

  • To promote early skills, e.g. early reading, writing and number


Our ambitious curriculum begins in EYFS where pupils follow the Villa Real Early Years Framework a broadened curriculum created from the Early Year Foundation Stage Document 2021 and Development Matters 2021.  Early Maths skills are taught here as well as throughout the whole school depending on the academic ability of the learners.

Mathematical Development is identified as a ‘Specific Area’ of learning within Development Matters 2021 and it states that;

‘Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers.

By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding – such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting – children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.’


It also states that;

‘When planning and guiding what children learn, practitioners must reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately. 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’


Teachers and practitioners support children in developing these skills in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and begin to communicate about their developing understanding. Early Maths development includes seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships, working with numbers, shapes and measures, and counting, sorting and matching. Children use their knowledge and skills in these areas to solve problems and make connections across other areas of learning and development.

Children in the EYFS at Villa Real learn in many different ways and our varied environments, learning and teaching styles provide a wealth of unique learning experiences for our children. Some may learn by playing, exploring and being active, some by modelling, repetitive routines and real-life experiences and others through creative, songs and games, all of which take place both indoors and outside. Our children have the opportunities to learn in many different ways depending on their needs. Continuous provision and incidental learning opportunities, as well as planned sessions and activities are all prevalent in the way Mathematics is organised and delivered across all three provisions. Learners who are in other key stages, but are still developing their understanding of these early maths skills also learn in similar ways.

More specifically, there are different teaching approaches that are related to the individual needs of the student cohorts. Within the ASD provision TEACCH bays and a series of boxed activities may be seen. They are recorded and progression is planned for accordingly. Within the CE provision, early maths concepts are taught, practiced and recalled throughout discreet lessons, play and Task Series, for example the rhythmic counting when using rhythmic intentions to support the movements of body parts to execute a task, directional and positional language is also used and repeated throughout. In the SLD provision you may see a more mainstream approach to teaching, perhaps in small groups with appropriate support in place for individuals.

Mathematical understanding is developed through stories, songs, games, routine, questioning, imaginative play, practical activities, child initiated learning and structured teaching. The engagement model captures meaningful observations to help plan next steps.

Development Matters 2021 states that children at Reception level will:

  • Count objects, actions and sounds.

  • Subitise.

  • Link the number symbol (numeral) with its cardinal number value.

  • Compare numbers.

  • Understand the ‘one more than/one less than’ relationship between consecutive numbers.

  • Explore the composition of numbers to 10

  • Automatically recall number bonds for numbers 0–5 and some to 10

  • Select, rotate and manipulate shapes to develop spatial reasoning skills.

  • Compose and decompose shapes so that children recognise a shape can have other shapes within it, just as numbers can.

  • Continue, copy and create repeating patterns.

  • Compare length, weight and capacity.

We at Villa Real are a SEN school and therefore our early maths skills and teaching can often be focussed on the prerequisites to these skills. Skills such as attending to an activity, scanning and looking at items, feeling or touching new things, following routines, listening to number or counting songs, clapping, combining, stacking, building, matching colours, posting games, simple inset puzzles, threading, displaying counting behaviours like pointing to objects or filling and emptying containers in the sand and water etc. These are all skills which are found in the earlier stages of child development and are essential for future learning and acquisition of Maths and Numeracy skills.

A good use of language in Mathematics helps children to recognise, create and describe patterns, which is essential for early problem solving skills. At Villa Real we believe children should gain a clear and thorough understanding of mathematical language and its meaning right from the start. Through our different provisions we deliver a varied approach to teaching key vocabulary depending on what the individual requires to support them with their understanding and acquisition. We ensure that key vocabulary and any communication in Maths is facilitated in many different ways, for example through symbols and pecs, eye gaze technology, PODD etc. to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to reach their full potential.



During the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Teachers and practitioners support children in developing their communication, comprehension, and literacy in a broad range of contexts.

Children in the EYFS at Villa Real learn in many different ways and our varied environments, learning and teaching styles provide a wealth of unique learning experiences for our children.  Some may learn by playing, exploring and being active. Some, by modelling, repetitive routines and real-life experiences and others through creative, songs and games. All of which take place both indoors and outside.  Our children have the opportunities to learn in many different ways depending on their needs.  Continuous provision and incidental learning opportunities, as well as planned sessions and activities are all prevalent in the way Literacy is organised and delivered across all three provisions. 

At Villa Real, we use different teaching approaches to meet the needs of the pupil/students. Within the ASD provision, TEACCH bays and learning box activities are used to focus the pupils/students and help them focus on learning. Within the Conductive Education provision, early literacy concepts are taught, practiced and recalled throughout discreet lessons, play and Task Series. 

All Literacy learning from the EYFS is planned and sequenced within a whole school scheme of work.


Language and Literacy Development is identified as a ‘Specific Area’ of learning within the Early Years Framework.  It is broken down into 2 aspects which result in 2 Early Learning Goals (ELG’s). 

Communication and language development is also divided into two sub-categories. These involves giving children opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves. 

Literacy development is divided into three subcategories. They allow us to foster a lifelong love of reading through the two dimensions of language comprehension and later, word reading. Writing incorporates spelling, handwriting and the composition, or being able to discuss and structure their ideas before writing.

Communication and Language

  • Listening, Attention and Understanding

  • Speaking



  • Comprehension

  • Word Reading

  • Writing



Literacy skills are developed through stories, songs, games, discussion, questioning, imaginative play, practical activities, child-initiated learning and structured teaching. As an SLD school, teaching can often be focussed on the prerequisites to early skills.  Engagement with an activity, scanning and focusing, attention and looking, feeling or touching new things, following routines, listening to songs, clapping, matching, games, etc.  These are all skills which are found in the early stages of child development and are essential for future learning. 

Depending on their special educational need, children will demonstrate learning and development in different ways. Practitioners observing a child involved in day-to-day activities must be alert to their demonstrating attainment in a variety of ways, including eye pointing, the use of symbols or signs. With the exception of ELG Communication and Language, Speaking, where the EYFS profile contains the word ‘talks’ or ‘speaks’, children can use their established or preferred mode of communication. 

Children should use the adaptations they normally use to carry out their activities so that practitioners come to know all children at their most capable. Adaptations include: 

• mobility aids • magnification • adapted ICT and equipment 

If a child’s learning and development doesn’t yet meet the description of the level expected at the end of the EYFS for an individual ELG, practitioners should record the outcome as ‘emerging’. They should also record details of any specific assessment and provision in place for the child. 

This will be used in discussions with parents so that they have a clear understanding of their child’s development and any additional support that will be offered. Settings should also use the details to support planning for future learning.


“Skilful interactions with adults and learning, which is supported by them, are necessary on the journey to embedding skills and knowledge.“ EYFS 2020

  • We aim to support children to work together and begin to take account of ideas and preferences which differ from their own.

  • We aim to be confident and competent role-models for the children in our care.


“Children must have access to a rich learning environment where opportunities and conditions allow them to flourish in all aspects of their development. The learning environment should provide balance across the areas of learning. “ EYFS 2020

  • We aim to create an environment where it is “safe” to make mistakes, to share thoughts and ideas, explore different options, and work collaboratively.

  • We aim to provide a place where children are able to persevere, concentrate and pursue their own interests.

  • We aim to provide resources which are accessible and organised in ways which encourage independence and responsibility (Continuous and Enhanced Provision)

  • We aim to create a stimulating environment which offers a range of activities to develop interest and curiosity both indoors and outdoors.

  • All staff aim to use correct English and vocabulary to support development of the children’s understanding and vocabulary.

  • We aim to question children in a way which develops their thinking and extends their comprehension.

  • We aim to support children with additional needs by providing supplementary experiences and information about the world around them in appropriate formats.


Children with effective learning characteristics: 

  • are willing to have a go 

  • are involved and concentrating 

  • have their own ideas 

  • choose ways to do things 

  • find new ways of doing things 

  • enjoy achieving what they set out to do


At Villa Real, Practitioners:

  • act as role-models and help the children to see themselves as able to communicate fully and to develop positive attitudes towards learning, by being confident and enthusiastic about the subject themselves.

  • observe and listen to children to better understand their interests/curiosities and provide opportunities/resources for child-led learning.

  • maintain children’s enthusiasm and confidence by responding to the children’s interests and lines of enquiry as well as planning practical and appealing activities which are appropriate for the children’s level of development, and which take account of different learning styles and ability. 

  • make use of everyday play activities to stimulate discussion and vocabulary

  • do not rush children 

  • use a wide-range of resources and activities both indoors and outdoors to develop the children’s enjoyment of literacy in a varied and stimulating way.

  • interact with a diverse range of multi-sensory, motivational resources which appeal to our young children, takes account of those who for whom English is not the home language or who may need to use alternative communication systems, and which promote independent learning.



We know that when parents and staff in the early years work together what a positive direct impact it has on children’s development and learning. Both partners have much to learn from one another and a great deal to share with each other. Working together to really understand and meet a child’s individual needs, valuing and respecting the different roles that each partner plays, sharing information and skills and building relationships based on mutual respect and trust. Open two-way communication is vital to make sure that knowledge and expertise is shared between parents / carers, multiagency partners and school.


At Villa Real EYFS parents and carers are kept informed of progress through parent / carer Stay and Play (COVID-19 safe alternatives planned), parents’ evenings, CTM/TAFs, Earwig, written reports, home school diaries and the statutory annual review.