SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: We visit Goytre Fawr Primary School
6:02pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
Goytre Fawr Primary - School of the Week. Headteacher Nicola Sutherland and Deputy Head Lisa Wilkinson. (1368003)
AN action-packed agenda means that children at Goytre Fawr Primary School reach their full potential as SOPHIE BROWNSON discovers.
LOCATED in the heart of Monmouthshire, Goytre Fawr Primary School is a school that never stops.
Arriving at the school I am welcomed by the head teacher Nicola Sutherland, who explains to me that the most important thing to the school is to have happy pupils who will as a result engage in learning.
Taking me on a tour of the school, Mrs Sutherland said: “We want all of our children to reach their full potential, regardless of their ability.
“We want them to be happy and safe.”
The school makes sure that the pupils are happy by offering them a vast variety of activities and experiences to stimulate their learning.
Recently the school established links with Kiraro Primary School in Kenya as part of a project called 'Goytre and Kiraro Pulling Together.'
Pupils were visited by teachers from the school in Kenya, who worked with them for two weeks, enabling pupils to learn about life in a different country.
Teachers from Goytre Fawr also went to Kenya to visit their school.
“Since establishing links with the school in Kenya we have been over to visit twice,” said acting head Lisa Wilkinson.
“We had funding from the British Council and the whole experience has been a huge learning curve.
“We have both learnt from each other.
“We have had African teachers Lydiah Phares, Lucy Nkonge came over and were working with each class.
“It has been really interesting as we teach the same lessons but use different resources.
“We have also taken on some of the things that the school does such as singing the national anthem every morning-we now sing the Welsh national anthem every day.
“We thought that by linking up with the school we would see a lot of diversity but in fact we have more diversity here."
The school also held an African evening on October 16 featuring African drummers and the school choir.
The club teaches the students important life values through clubs such as the credit union, a savings club run by teacher Ruth Roberts and the pupils themselves, as well as an active school council.
The school is also a fair trade and eco school that is working towards achieving its platinum flag.
As part of this, children are in the process of creating a eco greenhouse out of plastic bottles.
Other clubs include art, chess, rugby and multi-sports to give the pupils as much variety as possible needed to enhance their learning.
In order to encourage learning teachers award high achievers with a cushion and a trophy in the weekly celebration assembly whereby the pupil can sit in the cushion during lessons while placing the trophy on their desk.
During celebration assembly pupils also receive certificates and house pints which go towards raffle tickets for a prize.
Technology is also important aspect of the schools learning programme with pupils having regular access to iPads in lessons and during iPad club to advance their learning using different skills.
“ICT is an integral part of our lessons,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
“All of our class rooms have interactive whiteboards and the school has 60 lap tops.”
Such skills vary from music, where children as young as four learn how to play the violin as part of a Gwent Music Service programme.
The children are taught important survival skills during Forest Club run by Kerrie Grosvenor, who takes groups of pupils in to the great outdoors where they learn skills such as how to light fires and build shelters.
The school also focuses in improving academic skills as ambassadors of literacy programme Read Write Inc that uses phonics to teach literacy from reception to year four.
“We have great success with the programme which we have carried out across the school for a number of years.
“It has really helped to push our literacy levels up and as ambassadors of the programme we were externally assessed to show that we have reached a certain standard.”
Rapid Reading is another imitative the school uses where children use computers to read certain texts aloud to into a head set to test their reading accuracy.
Big maths is also used where pupils take part in a ‘Big Maths test’ once a week to maintain scores or improve each week.
“This is so that they can improve mental recall of number facts,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
“We work hard to do visual learning so that the children can interact with maths.”
One of the most impressive things about the school is the school radio station, Goytre Fawr Radio which is manned by the children every break and lunchtime.
The school is one of the only two schools in Monmouthshire to have a radio station, and as part of the project children visited capital Radio FM where they were given advice by breakfast show DJs Kam and Sally.
“The children plan their own shows and create and record their own jingles, and it has really helped to increase their confidence as well as building on team work,” teacher Andy Ingleton said.
“The pupils have interviewed school visitors which they record and play on the show at different times and every day has a different theme, with music varying from rock to classical.
“They even do requests!”
Such confidence in their pupils has led to them becoming rising stars with children such as Jude Blake, 11, starring in a national production of The Lion King as Simba.
The school has a lot of support from parents; with parents coming in daily to chop up fruit for the children fruit salads as part of their healthy eating regime.
“We are so fortunate to have such support from parents who come in every morning to cut up fruit for the children’s salads,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
“We treat all of the children with respect and expect the same,” Mrs Sutherland said.
“We just want happy confident children.”
Head: Nicola Sutherland
Acting head: Lisa Wilkinson
Chair of governors: Kathryn Edwards
Pupils on roll: 169
Motto: Walk tall, think big, grow together.
Vision: “We aim to provide a happy, secure, and challenging environment.
“This enables the children in our care to reach their full potential and become confident, independent and enthusiastic learners.”
ESTYN REPORT 2012
• The report said that pupils show a consistently good level of respect, care and concern for each other.
• Pupils work successfully both independently and with others.
• Teachers plan stimulating and effective lesson that hold on pupils previous work.
• Recent initiatives to raise standards in literacy are having a significant impact on the progress and standards achieved by pupils.
• Most pupils are highly motivated and engaged on their learning and demonstrate and interest perseverance and the skills needed to improve.
• Parents feel welcome and this close partnership has a positive impact on the pupils learning.
Comments are closed on this article.