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Betty Layward Primary School home page


Welcome to The Betty Layward Primary School; our School is a happy, thriving inner-city learning community. We opened in January 2000 with 95 pupils and our role is 480 pupils from Pre-3’s to 11 years old.  We are a non-denominational; two-form entry, a co-educational primary school situated in the heart of Stoke Newington.


The school aims to provide a safe and happy environment in which pupils are encouraged to work and play with enthusiasm, enjoyment, and confidence, while developing personal, social and moral values which enable them to make a positive contribution to society and to equip themselves with life skills. The school seeks to promote academic achievement by providing a curriculum that encourages pupils to take responsibility for their learning and which prepares them for the next stage of schooling, whilst maintaining a close partnership with parents. We strive to develop an awareness of the world in which our pupils live, encouraging a sense of responsibility through high standards of personal conduct based on respect for oneself and others.  We believe this strengthens good citizenship and social integration between cultures, whilst providing pastoral care that nurtures and supports the health and welfare of each individual pupil. We ensure all children have access to a motivating and stimulating environment that has a strong emphasis on developing links in learning. We provide our children with challenging and engaging experiences which allow children to grow their own academic successes and develop their understanding of the wider world.


‘The school is a caring environment where pupils’ well-being is a priority and everyone is valued. As a result, pupils are courteous and polite and behave very well. They welcome visitors warmly and are keen to talk about their school. Pupils are proud of their school. They are caring and quick to support each other if there is a difficulty. As one pupil put it, ‘I love this school because we are all one big happy family’. The overwhelming majority of parents agree, with one parent saying, The school is an incredible positive, warm and fun educational environment.’ OFSTED report- May 2018.



At Betty Layward we aim to use our key values of Curiosity, Creativity, Ambitiousness, Respectfulness and Happiness to create an engaging and full curriculum for our EYFS children. Wellbeing is a priority and everyone is valued, with our teaching and learning adapting to meet the needs and interests of the children we care for. We believe that every child is unique, is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We work to create strong relationships with children and provide them with opportunities to become resilient and independent, and create a growth mindset in a secure enabling environment. We seek to promote academic achievement by providing a curriculum that encourages pupils to take responsibility for their learning, whilst maintaining a close partnership with parents.

Curriculum drivers

At Betty Layward we believe our curriculum should offer children skills, experiences and aspirations that can carry into later stages of schooling. Our school values are represented by our EYFS Curriculum drivers. These underpin the learning and ensure the enrichment of our children. These key drivers reflect the cultural capital and social and academic needs of our local areas and communities. Our three key drivers are Culture, Well-being and Growth.


Community is an important aspect of Betty Layward and we are proud of the way we work together to create a vibrant and welcoming place to learn and grow. We know that our school community has the potential to change and enhance lives. Our culture of Curiosity, Creativity, Ambitiousness, Respectfulness and Happiness is explored throughout the curriculum in art, music, stories, dance and science. In the wider sense, we understand that we are part of the global community and know the importance of understanding communities beyond our immediate doorstep. We offer opportunities to experience diversity and to broaden our children's horizons by celebrating the various cultures that make up our world.

Well- being

As well as caring for children’s education, we also are dedicated to nurturing children’s mental health and wellbeing. We recognise that these are key to fostering relationships and building self-confidence. We believe that children need to have highly developed emotional literacy to be resilient in the face of challenge. Betty Layward children are confident, enthusiastic and recognise school as safe and secure place for them to learn. In supporting their wellbeing, and an overall recognition of mindfulness, we can enable children to make life long, well informed decisions about themselves and cultivate their autonomy for growth.


Growth comes in many forms. We want children to be the best they can be and flourish, no matter what their aptitude, need, circumstances or background. We foster a growth mindset at Betty Layward, encouraging children to be independent and inquisitive and use their own initiative to problem solve and find creative solutions to complex problems. In stretching to meet their full potential, we encourage our children to use their imagination, own initiative and to develop an inquiring mind. We link our learning to real life contexts and expand their knowledge of the wider world.

We recognise that the Early Years are key to children developing a love of learning and a confidence in approaching future challenges.  Early child development provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible behaviour, lifelong health, and strong communities. We aim to prepare children by exposing them to different cultures and experiences to give them a broad and balanced view of the world and create links and connections. We strive to develop an awareness of the world in which our pupils live, encouraging a sense of responsibility through high standards of personal conduct based on respect for oneself and others.  Our curriculum covers a variety of topics to ensure this, including both child initated and adult led activities. Planning is grounded in the EYFS Framework to support learning and development; we ensure that the areas of learning are accessed in both direct and indirect teaching and the stimulating environment. A mix of free play; supported play; direct teaching; and adult-guided learning will ensure that children are given time to apply their new knowledge and skills in a range of different contexts.


Our EYFS curriculum aims to allow children:

To explore and be inquisitive about the world around them

To develop the essential skills and knowledge that will underpin future learning

To be creative and problem solve

To have a growth mindset and bounce back from challenges

To speak with confidence and clarity

To care about others and compromise when problems arise

To respect differences and be accepting of others

To develop a sense of confidence in themselves and their own abilities


Areas of Learning:

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. ‘Development Matters’ and the ‘Statutory Framework’ (EYFS) have many aspects to them.  We encourage creativity, curiosity, exploration and a growth mindset.


The prime areas are:

Communication and language

Physical development

Personal, social and emotional development


The prime areas are reinforced and utilised through 4 specific areas:



Understanding the world

Expressive arts and design



Supporting your child:

At Betty Layward we aim to create strong partnerships with parents and endeavour to offer opportunities for parents to be involved with their child’s learning. We believe that a good working partnership with parents brings about the greatest success for children. We will be welcoming parents in to school and seeking participation and contribution in the life of the school.

Here are some of the ways you can support your child’s learning and development at home:

  • Read together every day, as part of their regular routine
  • Encourage your child to talk about the pictures: How do you think this character is feeling? Why?
  • Ask questions: Why did that happen? What will happen next?
  • Encourage your child to retell you the story, in their own words
  • Once they know some letter sounds, encourage them to sound out short words or find sounds they know in words.
  • Allow your child to practice dressing and undressing, including using fasteners that they find difficult.  Encourage your child to be as independent as possible.
  • Play with your child indoors and outdoors. Encourage the development of gross motor (larger movements) skills by supporting your child with physical play including climbing and clambering.  This will support the development of fine motor (smaller finger movements and pencil control) skills that follow.
  • Undertake creative and messy activities with your child such as cutting and sticking, finger painting, working with dough or clay.
  • Take your child to a variety of places to enrich their experiences which can be drawn upon in school. Make time to talk about these and discuss any similarities/differences you encounter.
  • Encourage good manners.
  • Encourage your child to be responsible for putting away their own things.  They will be encouraged in school to put book bags, coats and jumpers in their correct places from the beginning of the school year. They will also be encouraged to work as a team to put away all equipment at the end of the day.
  • Reinforce independent toileting and also hand washing and drying.
  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes together. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight.
  • Find practical ways to develop your child’s maths knowledge- cooking, building, and shopping together are all great for this!


Useful links:


Development matters-

Little Wandle-

Everybody Read-

Hackney Learning trust-

Betty Layward Reception Youtube account-

BBC parenting site-

What to expect, when?-




Nursery at Betty Layward- Rainbow class:

At Betty Layward Rainbow Nursery we provide a stimulating and caring environment in which children can succeed. We believe that play and playful experiences offer the richest context for children to meet challenges, make decisions and think creatively and critically. Our Nursery is built on the understanding that children learn best through exploration. We recognise that all children are unique and that learning and development must be planned around each child’s individual needs and interests. We support our children’s learning with high quality texts and use of songs and nursery rhymes. With continuous provision and supporting adult led activities, we leave room to build on the children interests and plan effectively from events of learning in the day. Children are encouraged to expand on their knowledge and skills and build on these with supportive adult interaction. Topics provide the planned learning with links between areas being reinforced. Each trained staff member is given key children in order to foster strong relationships and help tailor children’s learning to their specific needs. During focus weeks, activities are set up to meet key children’s targets, whilst also considering their interests and engagement. We are committed to working in partnership with parents and during each child’s focus week we invite parents to contribute targets for their children’s learning. We use the environment with a variety of resources to provoke interest and curiosity. The environment is also set up in a way to enable children to meet areas of the Early learning curriculum. For example, fine motor control is supported with a specific area equipped with tools and playdough. Developing a love of reading is key and towards the end of Nursery we introduce Phase 2, using our school scheme of ‘Little Wandle’. Our mission is to encourage the children within our care to become independent, resilient and enquiring learners, in preparation for their journey though Betty Layward and beyond.

Nursery is open during term time only. The Morning Session runs from 8.55am – 11.30am and the Afternoon Session runs from 12.15pm – 3.15pm.


Please note, a space at our Rainbow Nursery class does not guarantee a place at Betty Layward Reception. For more information regarding this, please visit the learning trust at:


Reception at Betty Layward- Ocean and Aqua class:

In Ocean and Aqua class as the expectations increase we value the importance of providing inspirational and contextual opportunities for learning. The curriculum is designed to incorporate a mix of different approaches. A mix of free play; supported play; direct teaching; and adult-guided learning will ensure that children are able to apply their developing understanding and skills in a range of different contexts. Our planning is structured around termly topics with breadth to meet the goals of the EYFS and provide equal opportunities for all children, regardless of their background. We recognise that our children come from a variety of different backgrounds and thus, the importance of an inclusive curriculum. The inclusion of certain topics and focuses within our curriculum are deliberate and purposeful. Our planning is designed to challenge our children and help to develop a ‘growth mindset’ when approaching new learning. We ensure that children are given opportunities to make links and see patterns between topics, areas and their own experiences. Afternoon learning is driven by children’s independent learning, with continuous provision and strong adult interaction allowing them to extend and build on knowledge. We believe all children can love learning and become an enthusiastic participant in their own learning journey.



Reading and Phonics

High quality texts and engaging ‘hooks’ help to cement knowledge and key skills within the learning itself. During the day we follow our ‘5 a day’ with 5 texts read and discussed. We expose children to a variety of different types of texts, from non-fiction through to fictional poetry, plays, comics, and stories. Reading is gateway into learning and we recognise that reading can give children cultural capital beyond their experiences. At Betty Layward we also follow the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics scheme and this has specific books which we will read with each child 3 times a week. This is based on Letter and Sounds and has a focus on encouraging a love of reading. Little Wandle also draws on the latest research into how children learn best and how best to enable children to apply their learning to becoming highly successful readers. Each child will read with three times a week in a small group. The sessions focus on decoding, prosody (reading with expression) and comprehension.



Communication and language are key to securing learning, and without these, later comprehension and letter reading will be impacted. In Early Years, we work on a serve and return principle, with interaction and communication as the key building block for children’s brain development. With this in mind, we put a high value on developing language and vocabulary; new vocabulary is regularly discussed and children become confident with using this fluently in their own independent play. We expose children to high quality texts and encourage discussion of unfamiliar words and try to put these into context. We utilise Makaton (key signing) to support children’s vocabulary development and help ground word use. In all these methods, we build up children’s use of language through Early years developing from everyday words, through academic and literacy words, to subject specific vocabulary.



In maths, we move through the theory of concrete, abstract and pictorial to ensure basic maths skills and understanding are clear. Throughout the day, in both Nursery and Reception, we offer practical opportunities to embed mathematical language and concepts- from completing the register, through to building a tower with the blocks, mathematical opportunities are all around us! Through discussion with adults and play, we develop children’s understanding of counting, number sense, finger gnosis (connecting numbers to their visual representation on fingers) and shape. Children become confident recognising these big ideas and explaining and exploring them in wider contexts.


Transition through Reception:

In Reception, we develop our expectations as the year progresses, and aim to meet the needs of the children as their skills and knowledge blossom. We recognise that children start their journey with us at a variety of starting points. We make certain we consider these starting points so that each and every child has access to a wide-ranging, balanced and differentiated curriculum which takes account of where they have been and where they will go in the future. The transition process is carefully planned throughout the academic year to ensure children and their families are supported as they move through the next chapter of school life. In Reception, the focus will shift to the Early Learning Goals and end of year outcomes, and planning is designed to ensure all children effectively meet these.

Before school has begun we have a variety of events to allow for a smooth transition. These include visits to the classroom, meeting the teacher, stay and plays, story times, culminating in our ‘EYFS Woodlands Festival’.  Parents are also given the opportunity to ask questions and explore our community through welcome meetings and visits. We also do a home visit before the children start to give them a chance to meet their classroom staff and to get to know them in their own familiar and safe home environment.


At the beginning of the year our focus is on building strong relationships with the children and creating a secure and supportive environment in which each child feels valued. We introduce routines and rules slowly, building these in line with children’s understanding and ability to settle. Structured activities are also gradually introduced. We begin with short phonics sessions following our ‘Little Wandle’ phonics scheme, with focus on blending and games. We develop children’s fine and gross motor using ‘Write Dance’ sessions, an exciting music and dance approach to develop the skills needed for writing. The majority of the day is structured around ‘independent learning’ where children’s interests lead their play and learning. Chosen texts and topics provide some planned table top activities and are supported by high quality continuous provision. High-quality adult interaction, with less time spent observing from a distance, ensures that classroom adults know the children very well, and they can plan for their next steps effectively.


As the year progresses, structured activity does become a part of the daily routine. Once children are confident with blending we introduce reading sessions with children in small groups of six. These sessions happen 3 times a week for each group and are designed to encourage a love of reading. The sessions focus on decoding, prosody (reading with expression) and comprehension. At the end of the week the book read with an adult will be sent home for parents to use with their child. We also begin a carousel session daily, with children rotating through the activities over the week. These activities are designed to build on children’s literacy or maths skills and allow open-ended exploration. Afternoons are kept entirely free for ‘Independent learning’ and self-directed activity. Children are able to make their own choices about where they learn best and our EYFS team make sure that there are both inside and outside opportunities for children to access all areas of learning. Our skilled practitioners EYFS team engage with the children to scaffold, challenge, model and extend their learning. This may be modeling sentence structure (Child: “Lion... furry...roar!” Adult: “Wow, a furry lion. He is roaring very loudly!”), to developing children’s ideas for self-initiated activities (“Wow. Those cars are rolling very fast. I wonder how we could get them to go even faster? Could we find a way of using this plank?”). They know when to intervene and when to allow step back and observe. Observations of children’s independent learning are documented on our online tracking system, Target Tracker.



At Betty Layward we build a solid foundation of knowledge on which children can advance and extend their learning into later years. By the time children begin Year One they should be confident in their own learning, having acquired all key stone skills that can be transferred into year One. Our committed, caring teaching team work to support children create a growth mindset in a secure enabling environment. We aim to create self- assured, valued and resilient learners who are able to think critically, creatively and independently.


As a team, we keep in constant communication to ensure each and every child’s needs are being met and that they are on track to meet their full potential. Each practitioner is trained to build on children’s interests and knows when best to scaffold or extend a child’s learning. Assessment begins with careful observations which then inform planning and next steps for the cohort. Learning and teaching is thus effective when children feel a sense of belonging, curiosity and competence. Regular internal moderation sessions and training ensure that we know children’s individual targets, are confident in discussing how they are progressing and what learning has taken place for all areas of the EYFS curriculum.




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