THERE are awards galore at Abergavenny’s Cantref Primary School, as CATHERINE COOK discovered. CANTREF Primary School, Abergavenny, opened in September 2005 following the closure of Park Street Infants and Harold Road Junior Schools.

Initially the new school operated on two separate sites, until it moved into the fully renovated Harold Road, Grade Two-listed building in September 2006.

Mr Richard Brunsdon has been at the helm since September 2012.

“Prior to my teaching career I was in the RAF for 16 years and felt it was time for another challenge,” he said.

“I have always had an interest in sports and still do.

Consequently I take an afterschool rugby class and occasionally help out with the football club if needed.”

His enthusiasm and enjoyment of sport stems from his RAF days. He hopes to pass this on to his pupils.

Mr Brunsdon has three children of primary school age so has first-hand knowledge of the importance of a parent and school partnership.

“ Primary education is the most important stage in a child’s’ development, I believe.

During that journey it is vital to instil a life-long learning policy to pass on to the next stage” Mr Brunsdon said.

“The key is working together with staff, governors and parents. It is a partnership that is vitally important and children are at the centre of that.”

The school is fortunate to have a separate gymnasium, hall and canteen, plus covered outdoor areas for the foundation phase.

They also have an attached nursery, which caters for 30 children, and an upmarket ICT suite with internet links.

Cantref stands in well-kept and good-sized grounds which incorporate a wildlife area, a pond, and even a pizza oven.

“The oven is a result of funding by the PTA and enables outdoor classes to cook and eat food,” said Mr Brunsdon.

There is also a modern outdoor classroom, built as a result of the David Bellamy Award. This award is presented as a result of a schools’ environmental activities, ecomanagement, sustainability and good neighbourliness (ie supporting in the local community and economy).

Cantref has also achieved a Fair Trade Status Award and is a Rights Respecting School achieving a Level 2 Award in July 2012.

Speaking of Awards, the Governing Body has also won a nationally recognised Bronze Award for Effective School Governing, presented by the local authority.

Many of the parents volunteer and run after-school and lunch-time clubs.

“These parents are using their skills to enrich learning throughout the school,” said Mr Brunsdon.

The Breakfast Club begins at 8.20am and is Welsh Government funded.

“Each child receives a breakfast. It is a calming way to start the school day,” said Mr Brunsdon.

An After-School Club is provided from 3.30pm to 6pm and is privately run. There is a variety of after-school and lunchtime activities, ranging from sports clubs, a drama club, choir, orchestra, art and gardening clubs. Unusually, there is a French knitting class run by one of the auxiliary staff at Cantref.

At present the school is concentrating on an anti-bullying campaign. There has been a whole school assembly on the subject and posters have been designed by pupils in Reception and Year 1. Each class is presently involved in thinking up rules for an antibullying charter.

The school badge states ‘Cyd Dyfu, Cyd Ddysgu’ which means Growing Together, Learning Together.

This could be applied to Mr Brunsdon’s position, being the ‘new kid in town.’ “I have a very supportive staff and am enjoying working with them. There has been a smooth transition from the previous head. This has been largely due to Pam Roberts, my deputy, who is extremely hard-working and committed, as are the rest of the staff.”

“This school has an excellent reputation and my aim is to continue that reputation and build on it. I have been fortunate in my teaching career in working with many talented colleagues and have benefited and learnt many skills from them, which I hope to put to use in my new position.”

Head teacher: Mr Richard Brunsdon
Deputy head teacher: Mrs Pam Roberts
No. on roll: 237
Teaching staff: 11
Auxiliary: 13
Chairman of governors: Mr Nigel Patterson

HIGHLIGHTS of the latest inspection report:
● Cantref Primary School has many outstanding features. One such feature is the collaborative manner in which teachers and support staff work for the welfare of the pupils.

● Pupils succeed well in attaining targets set for them, whatever their ability and social or linguistic background.

● Pupils’ standards of self-esteem, confidence and behaviour are good. They are courteous, polite and relate well to each other, to staff and to visitors