At Exeter Cathedral School we are committed to developing a love of learning through a broad and balanced curriculum in which children are inspired, excited and challenged. Children learn in a calm, creative environment which enables them to form positive relationships with adults and peers, where they feel safe, can develop a sense of belonging and have ownership of their learning environment.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Reception curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Stage which comprises seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are inter-connected. Three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thus thrive. The prime areas are:

Communication and Language; Physical Development; Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

We also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; Expressive Arts and Design

Throughout a day, through carefully planned play experiences, the children continue to benefit from a balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by adults. Working with a friend, in a small group or as a whole class, children learn how to cooperate, listen and ask questions and thus lead one another on in their learning journeys.

Learning takes place both indoors and outdoors (including in our woodland garden), through play, exploration and creative thinking. As children grow older and become developmentally ready, there will be a gradual shift towards more activities led by adults. This will help children prepare for more formal learning, and aid their transition into Year 1.

In planning and guiding the children’s activities and experiences, our skilled team of staff will reflect on the different ways that children learn. These characteristics of effective learning are:

Playing and Exploring; Active Learning; Creating and Thinking Critically.

 A main focus of each day is the teaching of Letters and Sounds, a synthetic phonics programme, and through precise teaching and carefully planned follow- up activities, children quickly become readers and writers.

Children have weekly Music and PE lessons which are all taught by specialist teachers from the Prep School. This contact with specialist teachers right from the start, helps build relationships and secures an easy transition from the Pre-Prep to the Prep School.

The curriculum is enhanced by enrichment activities which take us beyond the school gates; frequent visits to the Cathedral, autumn and spring walks in the local area, termly visits to a Forest School as well as visits to Plymouth Aquarium and Dinosaur World in Torquay, all serve to enrich the children’s learning experiences.


Key Stage I

We follow a creative curriculum, where we make meaningful links across the subjects to a main overarching theme. This theme will also incorporate exciting trips and enrichment activities.

For example, one theme the children study is ‘Homes,’ where the children look at homes through the ages, visiting a Saxon village in History; different types of homes around the world in Geography, which leads into home building in Design Technology; they study the work of Hundertwasser and how he portrays buildings in Art; in Science the children learn about living things and their habitats.

Music, French and PE are taught by specialist teachers.

English work links to the main topic by taking high quality texts that tie in with the main theme, for example during ‘Homes’ the children looked at island living through the stories of Katie Morag in fiction, designed leaflets about the fictional island of Struay in non fiction and solved riddles in poetry. The children also take part in an interactive daily spelling, punctuation, handwriting and grammar session.

Maths is taught through the engaging ‘Busy Ant’ scheme, where children learn and practise skills involving the four operations, simple fractions, understanding numbers and the number system and shape, space and measure.


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