Why Choose Cherry Orchard Primary Academy?

Welcome from the Principal

Our state of the art facility opened in Kent’s Ebbsfleet Valley on 6th September 2017, offering an outstanding educational experience for children aged 3 to 7 years.

Cherry Orchard Primary Academy is part of Leigh Academies Trust, one of the nation’s most successful, medium-sized, multi-academy trusts. Mrs. Julie Forsythe, the Principal of Cherry Orchard Primary Academy will work closely with other schools and professionals within the Leigh Academy Trust to develop a quality, inclusive education, where all children are able to achieve their full potential.

Julie Forsythe | Principal

The Reception Year

Children in Year R are entering the final phase of the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ curriculum. Teaching and learning is focused on seven areas which are as follows:

Prime areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
  • Communication and Language (CL)
  • Physical Development (PD)

Specific areas

  • Literacy (L)
  • Mathematics (M)
  • Understanding the World (UW)
  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

Children work towards the early learning goal (ELG) in each of these 7 areas. In the final term of the year, the ‘EYFS Profile’ will be completed for each child. The Profile provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a well rounded picture of your child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels and their readiness for Year 1.

Your child’s learning and development throughout their time in Reception will be led, monitored and assessed by Miss Sherress in Chestnut Class and Mrs Cook in Juniper Class – these teachers are the ‘key person’ for your child – they are both qualified teachers and act as the main point of contact to all of the Reception children. Their role is to ensure that your child’s care and learning is tailored to meet his or her individual needs.

Your child will also be supported by three Reception teaching assistants, Mrs Riordan, Mrs Brinkley and Miss Sargent, who will work equally across both of the reception classes.

What to bring?

Things to bring to school every day

  • Book bag – We ask that children have a school bookbag and do not bring their own backpacks to school, as they are kept in
    small tray spaces
  • Clear folders – This is provided by us and we ask that children’s reading records are kept in it every day, along with any letters, money or books
  • Lunchbox (if not having free school lunches)

Things to stay at school

  • Named water bottle – These will be washed at school during the week and sent home at weekends
  • Wellies
  • Plimsolls / P.E. kit (Summer Term)

Reception Uniform

School Uniform

  • School logo jumper *
  • White collared shirt (long or short sleeve)
  • School tie * (adding elastic makes ties much easier to keep on)
  • Sensible flat black shoes (we recommend velcro for ease)
  • Grey trousers / shorts / skirt / pinafore
  • Grey / white socks / grey tights
  • Green & white summer dress (warm weather)
  • School logo book bag *
  • Wellies

PE Kit

Reception children will only need a pair of black plimsolls for P.E. when they start school. They will not use P.E. shorts and t-shirts until the Summer Term 2021, if you would rather wait to purchase them.

  • Black plimsolls
  • House coloured logo t-shirt *
  • Green shorts *
  • Trainers (Summer term)
  • House coloured logo baseball cap *

* Starred items must be purchased via our online uniform supplier Brigade: www.brigade.uk.com *

Optional items available from the online school shop:

  • Outdoor coat
  • Fleece
  • Beanie hat
  • PE Bag


Ideally with stick in or sew in labels so that they cannot be washed off. With so many of the same items of uniform, anything un-named that goes missing is incredibly difficult to return to the correct owner.

Home-School Communication and Tapestry Learning Journal

Home-School Communication

In September, every child receives a reading record, which serves as the main link between home and school.

Any messages that you need to give to teachers should be written in the reading record. Please then leave the reading record open in your child’s clear folder and any open books will be checked every morning and responded to as quickly as possible.

If your child’s class teacher has a message for home, it will also be written in the reading record, which will then be placed, open, in their clear folder. This includes any minor accidents or first aid. For more serious accidents, a member of staff will either make a phone call home during the day or speak to you at home time.

Most mornings, you will see teaching assistants at the gate and class teachers will be inside classrooms to greet the children and support them with morning activities. We ask that you use the reading records for messages so that teaching assistants are free to support the children as they come into school. It can also be difficult for lots of messages to be remembered and recalled accurately, so writing them down is the easiest way to ensure they are dealt with appropriately.

Class teachers are usually available at the end of every school day, so if you do need to speak to us, please pop a note in the book to arrange a chat, or just come in and see us after the children have been dismissed.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation with this, in order to ensure positive communication between home and school.

Tapestry Learning Journal

Tapestry is an online learning journal used to record children’s learning throughout Preschool and Reception at Cherry Orchard and provides another invaluable link between school and home. You will be able to see pictures, videos and notes of your child’s learning, which you can like or add comments to. You will see three main types of observations on Tapestry:

  • ‘Wow’ moments – independent achievements
  • Group observations – play or activities taking place with a group of children
  • Focus child observations – interactions and teaching during your child’s focus week

You can also add your own pictures and videos from home, which children are then encouraged to share with their friends at school.

Tapestry has a ‘memo’ feature, through which we will share information and messages; and a ‘documents’ feature, where you will be able to view a range of documents that we upload, including class newsletters.

In order to use Tapestry you must sign the online consent form which has been shared with you. Please speak to a member of the EYFS team if you have any questions about this or need support accessing or using Tapestry.

Supporting Your Child at Home

In the Reception year, children will not be set formal homework. However, throughout the year we may provide ideas and open ended opportunities via Tapestry, that you and your child may wish to participate in. After each of your child’s focus weeks we will also suggest some ways you could continue to support their progress and develop their interests at home.

The most valuable way to support your child at home is to talk to them, encourage  them to ask questions and introduce them to a wide range of life experiences.

We also urge you to read with your child every single day – whether that is in the morning, in the car, before dinner or at bedtime. This could be time for your child to have a go at reading to you, but it is also very important for you to read to your child, model the use of expression and talk to them about the story. We encourage children to explore a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts.

Extended Schools Provision

At Cherry Orchard Primary Academy, we are proud to be able to offer daily ‘Wrap around Childcare’ through our Extended Schools Provision. Our Breakfast and After School Clubs offer before and after school childcare in a relaxed, happy and safe environment, whilst at the same time promoting the same high values and ethos provided at Cherry Orchard.

In addition we offer several different After School Activity Clubs each term, to give your child the opportunity to try different sporting, leisure and learning activities.

Online registration is required on a term by term basis.

To ensure children have time to settle with their main school hours, for Reception children, breakfast club and after school club is available from the first full week at school. Activity clubs are available from Term 2 (after October half term).


Role of the Adults

So what are the adults doing while the children are busy being independent learners?

Each week we select a few children from each class who become ‘focus children’ for that week. During child initiated time, adults will observe and interact with the focus children, finding out their current interests, identifying next steps in their learning, and addressing those next steps in the moment. Working in this way allows staff to give differentiated input, depending on each child’s needs. This may be suggesting an alternative strategy to solve a problem, showing a child how to do something or encouraging a child to think about something in a new way.

While interacting with focus children, it is of course expected that other children will be involved in the play and learning too. Adults will include any children that wish to join in and will scaffold and support their learning, just as they do for the focus children. We also like to encourage focus children to share their learning with their friends and explain what they have done or found out, really embedding what they have learnt.

Before each focus week we will send home a parent contribution message on Tapestry, asking you a few questions to further support the children’s learning during that week. Every child will have 3 focus weeks over the year (one per term).

Adult directed sessions

As important as it is for the children to have time to freely explore the classroom environment and choose their own learning, we recognise there are some skills that need to be taught more directly, or situations that arise that need to be addressed as a whole class. Our typical daily routine includes large periods of child initiated time and 3 adult led sessions. Whole class sessions before lunch focus on an interest, issue or learning area that has been noticed by staff during interactions with the children.

Learning Through Play

At Cherry Orchard we understand that young children learn best through play. It gives them the opportunity to explore, discover and problem solve, making them enthusiastic and independent learners. The EYFS curriculum rests upon 3 characteristics of effective learning:

  • Playing & exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating & thinking critically

Is it only through play based, child initiated activities that these characteristics can be properly shown by the children and assessed by staff. This is why the majority of our school day is child initiated “choosing time”, allowing children to choose what, where and with who they want to play and learn, following their current interests. During this time children are free to move between both reception classrooms and the outdoor area, with access to open ended resources they can select by themselves.

Our Curriculum

Read, Write Inc. Phonics

Read, Write, Inc. is a daily phonics programme followed by the whole school. In Reception, children start with whole class sessions, in which they are taught how to say, read and write one sound per day. After learning the first few sounds, they will begin putting them together (blending), so they can say words they hear and then move onto reading them. In RWI this is called ‘Fred Talk’ and children are encouraged to say each sound and then blend and say the whole word.

When children are blending confidently and independently, they will begin reading duties (short sentences) and then story books.


In Reception we begin teaching maths through songs, rhymes and stories. We then focus on one number over the course of a week, looking in depth at what the number looks like and how it can be made and changed. We use the ‘Numberblocks’ series to support children’s understanding of numbers and create a class ‘Numberland’ which the children can access throughout child initiated time, to practise and embed the skills they have been taught. We also introduce aspects of size, shape and measurement with each number.

It is important for young children to experience numbers in a huge range of ways, representing them with a variety of resources. This includes ‘maths’ resources such as numicon, blocks and counters, but also ‘natural’ resources, such as stones, sticks and any household items. Day to day activities, such as counting, talking about times of the day and baking or cooking are all essential to mastering both simple and complex maths concepts.

EYFS Behaviour Policy

In the Early Years at Cherry Orchard, we focus on positive behaviour and reward this frequently throughout the day, mostly using verbal praise. Children may also receive stickers, house points or notes home to parents as an extra incentive, but we like to encourage them to follow our classroom rules because they want to do the right thing, not only to receive an external reward.

‘Shiny green’ and ‘green’ behaviour is good behaviour that follows our 4 most important EYFS rules:

  • Kind hands
  • Kind feet
  • Kind words
  • Good listening

We use a traffic light system that works similarly to the rest of the school, however each colour traffic light has an associated face, used to discuss how children and adults are feeling when behaviours are displayed.

In Preschool & Reception, children are learning how to identify and deal with their own feelings and behaviours, so it is important for staff to help them understand them and identify ways to express them appropriately. If children are displaying amber or red behaviour, they will be given a warning and consequences appropriate to the situation, often a time out, in order to calm down and discuss the behaviour with an adult. After this time, children are supported to go back to the situation and find an appropriate way to manage it or make amends for their behaviour if necessary. We believe that just saying sorry does not support children to learn for next time, so we try to find a relevant way for the child to help, for example, checking a friend that they may have upset is ok, or helping to fix a model that they knocked down. If a child displays red behaviour, parents will be spoken to by the class teacher or EYFS lead, so that the incident can be discussed at home if appropriate.

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