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EYFS Conference

Friday, June 30, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Conference Schedule:

9.00am: Arrive/coffee
9.30am to 10.30am: Ruth Swailes – Presentation
10.30am to 11.00am: Coffee
11.00am to 12.00pm: Ruth Swailes – Workshop
12.00pm to 12.45pm: Lunch/networking
1.00pm to 2.00pm: Julie Cigman – Presentation
2.00pm to 2.15pm: Coffee
2.15pm to 3.15pm: Julie Cigman – Workshop
3.15pm to 3.30pm: Reflection and Close

Reading and Writing in EYFS – Getting it right for our youngest children.

Pupils need to develop a lifelong love of reading to access the curriculum which will also underpin all learning in the future. The Ofsted School Inspection framework has a heavy emphasis on prioritising reading and a “Sharp focus on ensuring that younger children and those at early stages of reading gain phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read (so that it) gives them the foundations for future learning.”

In addition to developing phonics, developing communication means pupils need to be able to acquire the skill of being able to express themselves through writing. Developing writing ensures that pupils are “ready for their next stage of learning”.

The conference will explore these themes and provide settings with practical examples that will support schools to not only effectively plan for their provision in their environments but will also ensure that pupils will be successful learners in the future.

Firm Foundations for Phonics with Ruth Swailes

Everyone wants to get children reading, so what’s the best way for us to achieve this? The increased focus on the teaching of phonics in Early Years has led to lots of questions and anxiety about best practice, so throughout the morning Ruth will focus on developing a suitable reading curriculum for our youngest children

Session 1

In this session Ruth will:

  • Share and explore research into what young children need to be effective learners Look at what is needed to make good progress over time
  • Get children ready to be able to read and write effectively in key stage one and beyond
  • Explore some of the issues young children face after lockdown
  • Looks at ways in which schools might respond to meet the needs of these unique learners.
Session 2

Following on from this Ruth will host a practical workshop which will:

  • Support teachers to consider how they can effectively plan and develop their provision
  • Best meet the needs of the children
  • Provide children with the skills they need to be successful learners
  • Share practical examples from real classrooms
  • Help teachers to plan for small changes to make a big difference.
  • Planned activities
Becoming a writer in leaps and bounds with Julie Cigman

Julie will lead sessions around writing, specifically enabling young children to develop a writer’s voice. She will look at ways to incorporate writing into EYFS in a playful but meaningful way.

Session 1

This will include:

  • What do we mean by early writing
  • How and when children first start to become writers
  • Boys and why they tend to do less well than girls in writing
  • Sharing examples from writing project schools: auditing their provision and what they found; making an action plan, and the actions they took; evaluations.
Session 2

In this session Julie will explore The 4 Ps of writing: how you can make your writing environment EPIC. Julie will explore some examples of what this looks like in practice and the role of the adult in implementing these ideas and supporting all children to become writers. The session will consider:

  • Continuous Provision
  • Planting ideas
  • Provocations for learning
Ruth Swailes

Ruth was the winner of the ‘Nursery World Trainer of the Year’ award in 2021. She has almost 30 years’ experience in primary education, over 20 of them in senior leadership roles including primary headship. Ruth has worked as a School Improvement Advisor, Ofsted inspector, Early Years consultant and moderator in several Local Authorities, she has advised on DFE accredited phonics schemes and is the lead author, curriculum consultant and trainer on the Oxford University Press International Early Years curriculum. She has recently written their curriculum for 2-3-year-olds.

Ruth has written for The Early Years Blog | Famly, Early Years Educator | Early Years Educator, Nursery World, Yorkshire Bylines and TES, she was awarded Nursery World Trainer of the Year 2021 and named as an “Edruptor”, one of the most influential people in International Education in 2022, she is the co-editor of the best-selling book, “Early Childhood Theories Today” with Aaron Bradbury.

Julie Cigman

Julie is an independent Early Years consultant and author. She has taught in maintained Nursery Schools in Oxford and throughout the Primary age range. She spent a number of years as Early Years lead for a PGCE SCITT based at Oxford Brookes University before working as an advisory teacher with Oxfordshire County Council. In this later role, she took a countywide lead on Equalities and Literacy.

She now works as an independent Early Years consultant and author. She has written well-received books on supporting boys’ learning and development and early writing, and she created and has led early writing projects in over 300 schools and Early Years settings.


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Event Details


Friday, June 30, 2023


9:00 am - 3:30 pm BST
Non-Member Price
Member Price


The Yard, Royal Norwich
Weston Estate, Weston Hall Road, Norwich NR9 5JE United Kingdom

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