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The Howard Partnership Trust (THPT) is a Surrey based Multi-Academy Trust, comprising four secondary, six primary and two special schools with two further under development. We are proud of our ethos of collaboration and inclusion, "Bringing out the best" in students of all abilities and backgrounds. Visit website

Part of The Howard Partnership Trust

Fox Grove School


The Fox Grove EYFS and KS1 department provides pupils with a careful balance of child-led play exploration and adult-led activities throughout the day.  Starting from a relaxed play and individual focused day in the parallel reception classes, the frequency and duration of adult-led activities gradually increases throughout the years, in accordance with the children’s development of shared attention and focus, working towards greater periods of adult guided and structured learning activities.  

Staff are skilled in playing  alongside pupils as play partner, following the children’s lead (using Intensive Interaction and features of the Curiosity Programme to gain social connection, building positive relationships  and gradually working towards modelling more advanced schemas and stages of play.  These intentions incorporate the guiding principles from. the Statutory Framework for the EYFS which should shape practice in early years settings for all children, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These principles are:

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • Importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates.

Adult led activities in the reception classes are planned around half-termly themes and support children in 7 areas of learning and development. 

The 3 prime areas:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

And the 4 specific areas:

  • literacy
  • maths
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Play based learning occurs through provision of familiar toys (cause & effect,  role play and turn-taking games) alongside motor skills activities, loose parts imaginative materials, mark making equipment, mathematical, expressive arts and stimulating topic-themed resources.  

The classroom environment is carefully structured and adjusted to meet the attentional needs of the pupils with distracting materials reduced or removed at times, to enable focus on key activities or vocabulary.  Other materials are re-introduced as needed.  Personal care needs are supported as necessary, and staff work together with parents to ensure consistency of approach towards increasing each child’s independence in feeding, dressing, toileting and other areas of personal care.

Staff teams observe pupil development closely and note moments of pupil exploration and skill development, taking photographs and recording details onto EYFS observation sheets so that teachers are better able to make judgements as to appropriate next steps.  Children in the setting are all on very individual trajectories in terms of entry levels and pace of progress towards the Early Learning Goals (which are assessed for the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile at the end of the Reception year).

Throughout the department, staff take care to ensure communication supports are in place at all times and in the environment, to enable children to make their wants and needs known, as well as to support expressions of commenting, expression of feelings and develop topic  themed language.  Children are supported to develop awareness of their own emotions through modelling use of a simplified & symbolised Zones of regulation communication display, adults engaging in intensive interaction or people games and offering a range of sensory experiences to help stimulate or calm and regulate as needed. 

The Schemes of work are planned at 3 levels of engagement so that all children can explore the opportunities on offer.  Planning for activities is supported through use of Development Matters, the non-statutory guidance for the EYFS stage.

The Fox Grove stages of progression incorporate targets from the EYFS into the curriculum rolling programmes,  enabling children to continue working on skills relevant to their developmental level and a seamless transition from EYFS to KS1.  Preparation and handover meetings for new classes occurs in the summer term and children are supported throughout to make changes by attending a meet & greet picnic with their new teaching staff at the end of the summer term and having information about the class presented visually.