SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: Kymin View Primary School
6:02pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
A HEALTHY life is at the heart of learning at Monmouth's Kymin View Primary. JEN MILLS reports.
YOU won’t find any empty crisp packets rustling in corners of the playground at Kymin View Primary School in Wyesham, Monmouth.
The school’s policy bans junk food at breaktime and lunch, so any child caught with a packet of Walkers or Mini Cheddars will have to surrender their snacks in return for a healthy piece of fruit.
Head teacher Suzanne Gooding says this measure is rarely necessary, however, as parents are happy to comply once teachers have explained the rule.
Health is at the heart of Kymin View and the playground is full of equipment encouraging children to be active.
There are tunnels made out of tyres for pupils to explore, balance beams and a play area.
In the fields there are goalposts which the boys’ and girls’ football teams make good use of.
Mrs Gooding stresses the importance of healthy living.
For just £2 a year, children can attend cookery classes where they learn skills such as cutting vegetables and measuring out ingredients. They and cook up a delicious meal or dessert, then sit down together to tuck in.
Mrs Gooding says she counts herself lucky as she often gets to sample the finished product - recently she was treated to rhubarb crumble.
The £2 covers around three classes each year, taught in a cosy atmosphere as the class only has space for around eight pupils to let everyone have effective tuition.
The school’s cook, Ann Wilkins, is well-loved by her pupils. She serves up meals to both pupils and teachers, with a selection on offer each lunchtime.
She says the most popular meal is pizza, with healthy toppings, and while some children bring in packed lunches everyone eats together in the canteen so there isn’t a division between pupils.
The school uses the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) scheme to try and make sure students have a strong feeling of wellbeing both physically and emotionally.
Pupils certainly seem cheerful, trying to get into photographs and talking about their school work.
In the playground there is an allotment where pupils grow vegetables.
It is run in partnership with a supermarket chain, which provides the children with seeds.
When vegetables have grown, pupils are able to sell them at the store, learning about business as well as nutrition and gardening.
As well as having a focus on healthy eating the school is environmentally conscious, using rainwater to flush toilets and designed to maximise natural light.
There are also covered cycle sheds with children encouraged to cycle instead of coming in parents’ cars.
The setting of the school in the Monmouthshire hills gives the school its name, Kymin View.
It is a refuge from pollution and a place where children have the space to run around and learn about the outdoors.
Since the school opened in 2007 as a new-build, bringing together a separate junior school and infant school, it has become part of the community.
A toddler group, Busy Bees, has been set up, so children can attend Kymin View from babies until they move on to secondary school.
When we visited, children were saying goodbye to Wendy North, a Year One teacher who was retiring from full-time teaching duties after 24 years at the school, and becoming a grandmother.
Mrs North joked: “It will be hard, but when I see everybody scraping the ice off their cars I shall think, ‘this is the life!’”
Mrs Gooding said: “She has promised us that she’s going to come up on a regular basis to help, she will be hugely missed.”
Brightly coloured murals on the outside walls mean there is plenty to keep the eye occupied.
On the wall opposite the allotments there is a rainbow, and a caterpillar with a different number on each segment of his body.
There are also dinosaurs and a wall that seems designed to be educational and great fun for pupils but perhaps not for the adults around, as attached to it are various implements for making as much noise as possible.
A wok, a colander and windchimes can be used to orchestral effect if children are not busy working in the allotments, building sandcastles or taking on the balancing planks and tyre tunnels.
About a quarter of children travel from outside the catchment area to come to the school, so there are pupils whose parents work in Monmouth or moved away but decided they wanted their children to stay at the school.
All Key Stage Two children at the school were rehearsing for their school play, Happy Ever After, based on Shrek for the end of the school year.
Gingerbread men, ogres, ugly sisters (the boys stepped in for these roles) and a host of other fairytale characters were rehearsing to put on a good show for parents.
Sur Morris, the Year Four teacher who wrote the school’s version of the play, said: “The most important thing is that each of the 29 Year 6 children would have a part.”
Mrs Gooding says staff are willing to go out of their way for their pupils, for example by taking them on school trips that are relevant to what they’re learning:.
“I’m very lucky with the staff we have got here,” she said.
“The amount of time they give is over and above.
“Our Year 6 have been learning about Egypt. They’ve taken the children down to see an exhibition in Swansea.”
Staff are also willing to dedicate time to coaching sports teams. Football is popular with both the boys and girls, while many other games can be played such as netball, tennis and rounders.
The school’s motto is “Today matters for tomorrow’s success” and as Mrs Gooding explains, this does not mean every day needs to be perfect but rather that each day allows opportunities to learn.
Mrs Gooding added: “It’s just that every day really does matter. About how can we make sure tomorrow is a better day.
“Just some little thing you say to a child can colour the way they feel.
“If you tell them they’re really making an effort and things are getting better they often respond to it.”
Number of children on roll: 210 pupils plus nursery
Largest class size last year: 26 (Year 6)
Head of governors: Liz Hacket Pain
School motto: Today matters for tomorrow’s success
School logo: The Roundhouse on top of the Kymin, with schoolchildren holding hands next to it
Last inspection: March 24, 2009
ESTYN inspection report:
"This is a caring school where pupils and staff feel valued and respected. Under the leadership of a new headteacher, good progress has been made in a comparatively short period of time. The quality of teaching is good, and good features outweigh shortcomings in pupils’ standards of achievement. Everyone who is involved in the school is committed to its further development and success."
Comments are closed on this article.