Reception New Starter Information

Meet the team!




Welcome to Cranbrook Education Campus. We are delighted that you have chosen our school for your child and look forward to working closely with you and your family throughout the coming years. Obviously this year has been a challenging and interesting one for all schools, and our transition programme for this year needs to look slightly different, in line with Government Guidelines regarding how schools are currently operating. As we are still unsure exactly how schools will operate in September, we have planned the best way to enable your child to have a happy and settled start to school life, and will keep you informed and updated with any changes to our plan if and when we need to. In the meantime, we hope you find this information booklet useful and informative – please take the time to share the relevant parts with your child.

On our school jumper we have the motto


We strive to work alongside your children to develop the opportunities for them to succeed in this motto, and our ‘no excuses’ approach will enable all children to achieve their very best in their learning. We encourage all children at Cranbrook Education Campus to develop belief in themselves in all aspects of their school lives, placing great importance on our school values;

Respect                Forgiveness

Teamwork              Perseverance

Honesty                Resilience

We encourage our whole school community to incorporate these values in the day to day life of the school.

Our Reception Bases: Indigo/ Violet/Sapphire

Our Reception team is made up of the following people who all work closely together;

  • Mrs Julie Simpson (Assistant Head Teacher/Early Years Phase Leader)
  • Mrs April Cromwell (Teacher)
  • Mrs Naomi White (Teacher)
  • Mrs Gemma Conway (Teacher)
  • Miss Phoebe Allum (EYFS Teaching Assistant)
  • Miss Erin Leach (EYFS teaching Assistant)
  • Mrs Hayley Salter (EYFS Teaching Assistant)

Your children will get to know and work with all the staff very quickly – please feel free to talk to any of us at any time if you have a question or concern.

This year we will accommodate our Reception children across three bases, alongside our shared spacious outdoor area. Children are encouraged to explore their learning in different areas throughout the day and the environment is set up to enable all children to access the full Early Years Curriculum.

Teachers and support staff work closely alongside each other both indoors and out, so children will soon get to know and work with all of us. We plan for and assess the children’s progress together to ensure the learning needs of all the children are met and that all children are given a variety of opportunities to make the very best progress in their learning.

Our Curriculum

Children in Reception follow the EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE CURRICULUM (EYFS) which they will be familiar with if they have been in a Nursery or Pre-school setting previously. We offer a variety of parent meetings/workshops (this year a programme of these will be sent to you at the beginning of July, and these may need to be done as online meetings) explaining how the Early Years curriculum works and how your child will learn.

The EYFS curriculum consists of seven main areas of learning;

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive Arts and Design

When we plan, we focus on the Characteristics of Effective Learning outlined in the EYFS. This explores the way in which children learn;

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active Learning
  • Thinking critically

All the areas are connected and we use a “skills based learning” approach, following the children’s interests to enable our children to progress in all aspects of learning. We work alongside children in small groups and as a whole class base. Group inputs throughout the day for Phonics, Maths, Literacy and other curriculum areas are balanced with our “continuous provision” learning activities, which are planned to encourage children to develop their learning independently through exploration and challenge. Our learning in Reception continues to focus on a play based, enquiry based method and children are encouraged to have fun, explore and investigate whilst developing the resilience to achieve their very best. The “skills based” learning approach focuses on planning and providing opportunities for learning based on the skills and next steps which are relevant to both individual and groups of children, and we review this regularly, ensuring children are taught with a “stage not age” approach. This allows children to make rapid progress at a level appropriate to them as an individual. We continue to follow the principles of “The Curiosity Approach” which is introduced in our Campus Nursery, where we use real and authentic resources to promote a sense of awe, wonder and discovery whilst enabling children to develop these skills.

Your child will have their own LEARNING JOURNEY, which will contain photographs, samples of his/her learning and evidence of how your child is exploring and progressing through the EYFS Curriculum. There will be regular opportunities for you to come in to school to look at the Learning Journey, share it with your child and contribute to it on a regular basis. We will need you to add to this Learning Journey throughout your child’s time in Reception – don’t worry, we will help you know what we are looking for!

Getting Ready To Start School

Some of you may be familiar with our school as you have children who already attend here or are currently part of our Nursery. For some of you, however, this is a new experience for both you and your child. We aim to make the time your child starts school as positive, exciting and smooth as possible. This year particularly, we are aware that there has been huge disruption in the lives of all children, so we have developed a series of opportunities for you and your child to become, in the current climate, as familiar as possible with our school, the Reception bases and the staff in the build up to the time your child starts here;

  • A new parent’s meeting in the summer term prior to your child starting – this year the meeting will be via Google meet as we are unfortunately unable to invite you into the school building at present
  • Opportunities for your child to be in school to work with the teacher and become familiar with the set-up and routines – this would normally happen in the second half of the summer term but this year it looks very likely that this will form part of the first week back in September . Further details will be shared with you as soon as we can confirm the situation for schools in September
  • Meetings between our Reception team, Nursery team and other settings to share information about the children who will be joining us
  • A video link introducing your child’s new teacher to them
  • Photographs of the learning environment your child will be working in
  • A home/school transition gift from us to your child for your child to keep and which can be brought to school in September to help with learning


The First Day

The following plans are based on the hope that schools will be open and operating fully in September – please be patient with us if before then we receive guidelines which mean that we may need to make changes to the way the school day looks.

 At the start of the day please bring your child to their class base, where adults will be there to welcome you. The school day begins from 8.40am, when we invite you to come in and take part in our Early Bird activities. The bell rings in each class base at 8.50am for the official start of the day and the register, when we ask you to leave your child so our day’s learning can begin. Children will have an allocated place to hang coats and bags, store their book bags and place lunch boxes and drinks, and an adult will be on hand to help your child organise these things as independently as possible.

This year, term begins on a Tuesday (8th September) and you will be provided with details of settling during the first week of term as soon as we are able to confirm them. We like to get our children into a school routine of attending full time as quickly as possible, but if by the end of the second or third week, your child is finding the new school routine extremely tiring, we may be a little flexible around this arrangement. Please do not hesitate to talk to us about this.

 The children will spend their first couple of weeks at school getting used to where to find everything, our routines and our school environment. We will begin elements of our structured learning including our phonics teaching during the first full week, and every child will bring home a phonics and reading book by the end of this week – a chance to take pride in their new book bag! During the first few weeks of term we will be carrying out our Baseline Assessments – a range of activities which will enable us to get a clear and accurate picture of children’s starting points in their learning.

At the end of the day please wait for your child in the outdoor area where the children will be brought to you. The school day ends at 3.15pm. Children are always very excited to see parents at the end of the day, and can often be quite anxious if nobody is there to collect them, so please try to be here on time for your child! We operate a password system for those times when other people collect your child, which is explained in your information pack.

The School Day

From 8.40 – Early Bird Activities

8.50 – bell rings to prepare for the start of the day and parents leave

9.00-11.50 – Session 1 (a mix of class based inputs and continuous provision inside and out – café style snack included in this session)

11.50 – 1250– Lunch time

12.50 – Afternoon registration

1.00pm – session 2 begins (mirroring session 1)

3.00 – Getting ready to go home!

3.15 – School ends          

What does your child need to bring to school?

There are certain items which need to be in school with your child every day. Please help your child to be independent and organised, and to remember these things so he/she is not anxious or upset about not having them.

  • Book bag (available to buy from our uniform stockists – see section on “uniform”),
  • Reading/ phonics book. Further details about our approach to reading will be given at our parent information meeting. Reading books will be changed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • A waterproof coat – we will be learning outside every day, whatever the weather!
  • Welly boots – a named pair which can be left in school
  • A drink’s bottle (water only please) which can be accessed throughout the day
  • A named lunch box or bag if your child is having a packed lunch

PLEASE make sure everything your child brings to school is named clearly – it will save so much time and worry for both your child and us!!

We ask that children to leave toys and special items at home, unless the teacher has specifically asked for something to be brought in – they can get broken or lost which can be very distressing for your child.

School Lunches

Currently all children in our Reception bases and Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) are entitled to a school meal provided by Government funding. Your child has a choice of school meals or can bring a packed lunch from home if you prefer. There is a daily school meal option of main (meat based), vegetarian or Jacket Potato. Specific dietary requirements can be catered for. We have an online system where you register and order your meals through the catering company Aspens– you will be provided with a unique access code for your child.

Healthy snacks are provided each day for your child – our rolling snack café encourages children to choose when they would like to take a break from their learning for a snack and drink. Water and milk are provided, and fresh drinking water is accessible throughout the day.


Our School Uniform

It is important that all the children at our school wear our uniform – this gives them a sense of belonging and pride in our school community. Our school uniform is available to buy from and Honiton Sports shop (you will be given a price list in your welcome pack.)

Our uniform consists of;

  • Grey v-neck school jumper with school logo or grey cardigan
  • School tie (clip on available)
  • White shirt/ blouse
  • Grey trousers/ skirt/ pinafore dress
  • Green summer dress
  • Plain black shoes (Velcro fastenings are ideal – laces can be a bit of a nightmare for young children!)
  • White/black/grey socks or tights
  • Hair longer than shoulder length should be tied back, with simple, plain accessories to match our uniform colours
  • No jewellery except plain studs in ears and a plain watch


PE Kit

Our Real PE programme and constant access to outdoor learning means we do some form of physical activity every day, and we do not change for our PE sessions. In the second half of the summer term however, your child will need shorts, t-shirt and trainers for sports day which they can then take into Year 1 with them. Further information will be given nearer the time.

Learning at Home

We actively encourage you to be aware of and involved in what your child is learning at school, and provide opportunities for all children to extend their learning at home. Your child will bring home a reading book and new sounds/ words to learn regularly. Reading books are changed three times a week but your child will need his/her book bag in school every day.

Our Home Learning tasks are set half termly – an opportunity for you to work together with your child based on a specific theme. This is usually in the form of an investigation or creative activity and will regularly be used to form a display in school.

We may on occasions send home some additional learning or a challenge over the weekend, or activities to support your child in a certain area if he or she is finding something particularly challenging– we will always discuss this with you beforehand.

How can you help your child at home?

Taking an interest in your child’s day is the best support you can give, without pushing too hard. Children are often very tired at the end of a school day and will need some time to unwind before they are ready to share what they have been doing. Reading with your child, helping with sounds and words, and sharing your own books all help to develop your child’s early reading skills. Short sessions when your child is not too tired and there are no distractions always work best. Taking an interest in any Home Learning task and encouraging your child to complete it is very helpful to us and we always appreciate your feedback on any activities set. Please record when you have read with your child in their reading journal.

There will be regular opportunities for you to come into school at the beginning and end of the day and see the learning your child has been doing. Every Friday we hold an “open door” session for all parents/carers to join us from 3pm to share our Learning and find out what we have been doing that week.

And finally …….the little ‘useful bits’

  • There is an information board outside our Reception bases to explain what we are learning each week. This is also used for important day to day notices, so please read it daily!
  • If your child is ill, please let the school know via email or phone, ideally by 9.15 on the first day of illness and then every day until your child returns. There is somebody in the office from 8am but you can leave a message on our answerphone.(see contact details below)
  • If at any time you have a concern or problem, please do not hesitate to talk to us. Teachers are always around at the beginning and end of the day, or you can make an appointment to meet with them or the Early Years Phase Leader. We really value you as parents and carers, and appreciate your input and feedback.
  • Please feel comfortable about coming in to the school at the beginning and end of the day – this is your school and you are very welcome!
  • You can contact the school, Head of Campus (Mr Stephen Farmer) or Head of Primary (Mrs Louise Moretta) by telephone – 01404 823293 or by email  –
  • You can contact the Early Years Phase Leader, Julie Simpson, using the same reception contact details or directly by email –
  • You will often find the information you need on our school website which is updated regularly. There is a specific Early Years section. Please also refer to the website for latest news and school policies/guidelines
  • We try to keep our correspondence as paper free as possible – all key information, including our weekly Early Years Newsletter, will be sent to you as an email/text group call and will be published on our website and Facebook page.

Finally…..we hope that you and your child have a happy and positive time as part of our school community. We look forward to getting to know you better.

Julie Simpson

Assistant Head Teacher/ Early Years Phase Leader