Bradford Grammar Junior School will be welcoming pupils in Reception and Year 1 from September. Its new Early Years Foundation Stage lead, Laura Tapscott, talks about the essential ingredients for a successful Early Years experience.  

It was on a recent train ride to Kew Gardens that Laura Tapscott had one of those wonderful moments which make teaching worthwhile. Some of the pupils she’d taught at her previous primary school, who were now at secondary and looking all grown up, had got on the train and spotted her.

“I could remember them being scared little girls on day one, not wanting to leave their mums, and then chatting to them and seeing them full of confidence, it was lovely,” recalls Laura.

“When you see them going through the school, growing up, it’s wonderful to see them mature and know I’ve taught them to read and write from an early age. You hope that they don’t lose their curiosity and love of learning and if they have a good start, they don’t. If you get the foundations right, it equips them for the future.”

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Laura is currently helping to get the foundations right at Bradford Grammar Junior School as it expands to include Reception and Year 1 children from this September. A state-of-the-art spacious Early Years building is almost finished while outside a mud kitchen, construction area, woodland exploration area, discovery trails and an outdoor performance space are being created to support the school’s flourishing outdoor curriculum.

The school will be incorporating the seven key features for Early Year’s success from the Government’s Development Matters curriculum guidance, into its teaching, such as good partnerships with parents, effective pedagogy and high quality care. Laura is also a keen advocate of the Montessori method of education which is based on a child-centered educational approach which combines hands-on learning and collaborative play.

“It’s very child led but with boundaries and structure,” says Laura, the school’s new Early Years Foundation Stage lead and Reception teacher. “It’s about being that ‘scaffolding’ role when you’re leading but allowing them to explore their own interests. The environment and the role you play in it is very important. Reception is that beautiful balance between being adult and child initiated. It’s really special in that they start Reception aged four, they’re physically changing so much in that year, and the confidence they gain is wonderful.”

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Another inspiration is Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist who believed all social interactions play a critical role in children’s learning.

Says Laura: “He believed children could learn anything if you break it down into its smallest form and I think that’s so true. My son is learning to tell the time at four and he is asking me questions that causes me to think and I love that part of teaching in Reception. It goes back to that wonder and awe. That carefree attitude is so refreshing.”

While structured indoor and outdoor fun will be prevalent in Reception and Year 1 from September, there is still a great deal to do in preparation.

“It’s wonderful to be able to form something from scratch, it’s a whole new adventure and a new legacy in terms of the school,” says Laura.

One thing I loved about my last school was that it was like a family and I know Clock House will be the same. The experience these children will get will be second to none.”

The first Reception and Year 1 pupils will be welcomed in September. To find out more, contact the admissions team at or call 01274 553713/553702. To register for a future open event, visit