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Early Years

Learning in Reception

The learning potential for all young children is an exciting journey and it’s our privilege to work with the children, to support, guide and unleash their love for learning. 

On a normal day in Reception you can see our children counting and collecting flowers, digging in our allotment, writing letters to their friends, reading a book in a teepee or being curious and creative designing a reservoir in the sandpit. Most importantly though, you can see confident and creative children sharing their ideas, helping each other, being kind and being determined to achieve success.

We have designed a curriculum to support children through their learning and prepare them for KS1 and beyond.


We aim to provide children with a well-structured, safe, active learning environment both indoors and outdoors. This will enable them to develop the skills, attitudes and understanding that will form the basis of lifelong learning and encourage them to become useful, active members of our community. The children’s progress is measured against the ‘Early Learning Goals’ which should be achieved at the end of the reception year. 

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum guides children’s learning from 0-5 years old. 

The curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning.  The three prime areas of learning are:  Communication & Language, Personal & Social and Physical Development.

There are four specific areas of learning: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

The characteristics of effective learning are: Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Creating  and Thinking critically.


Children in Reception follow the synthetic phonics approach. The children learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and they apply these skills quickly in their writing. At Hadrian Academy we follow the  Little Wandle Letters & Sounds (revised) programme of study. Where individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. The phonics programme is divided into 5 sections, in reception we recap phase 1 (which is normally taught in nurseries and pre-schools) We then move onto phase 2-4. In Phase 2 children will learn the letters of the alphabet and the sound each letter makes. This is where children will learn each sound with an action. They will then begin to blend the sounds together to make simple words such as: cat, dad, pig, etc. This will be followed by segmenting (breaking the word into separate sounds) and finally beginning to read simple captions such as ‘cups and mugs’.

The sounds learnt in  phase 3 are digraphs (2 letters, one sound) such as ‘ch as in chip’, ‘sh as in shop’ and ‘th as in this’. Children will learn to understand that a digraph only makes one sound, even though it has 2 letters. Children will then move on to reading more complex captions, sentences and questions with a focus on the digraphs.

In Phase 4, children will not learn any new sounds, as they concentrate on learning to blend and segment longer words, captions and sentences. 


Reading is extremely important to us and the children at Hadrian Academy. We believe that all children should be exposed to exciting, captivating and engaging stories. Therefore we read a variety of texts throughout the year.  We also want children to have a passion for their own reading and have lots of interesting stories, poems and fact books that the children can independently look at.

As phonic knowledge becomes secure, children will be placed onto a school reading book. This book will be set at the right level for that child. The books become more challenging as the child’s phonic ability improves. These books are read at school at least twice a week and we ask parents to read with their child at least 5 times a week.


Here at Hadrian Academy, we encourage children to have a ‘Mastery’ approach to mathematics,  by being resilient, co-operative, creative, and most importantly, by having a positive attitude, not being afraid to make mistakes and being determined to seek solutions. We encourage all children to develop their own mathematical understanding through arithmetical proficiency, reasoning and problem-solving skills. We strive for our pupils to be confident mathematicians who understand the relevance of the subject in their everyday lives.

Maths in Reception is everywhere, (inside and outside) and there are opportunities and exciting activities for the children to explore, sort, count, compare, describe and calculate. We believe that maths is all around and in reception we develop mathematical skills so that children become creative, critical thinkers and problem solvers as they progress through Hadrian Academy.