SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: Magor Church in Wales Primary

South Wales Argus: School of the week
Magor Church in Wales Primary School
Cookery and soup lessons for pupils from left, Ben Wall, Abigail Bradley, Ieuan Venn-Jones, (ok), and Eva Keilthy, (ok) (2818316) School of the week Magor Church in Wales Primary School Cookery and soup lessons for pupils from left, Ben Wall, Abigail Bradley, Ieuan Venn-Jones, (ok), and Eva Keilthy, (ok) (2818316)

YOUNGSTERS at Magor Church in Wales Primary are excitedly looking forward to Christmas. JOHN PHILLIPS reports.

PRIMARY schoolchildren are in a festive mood as they take part in a series of fun-packed events celebrating the arrival of the central figure of Christianity on Earth.

Pupils a Magor Church in Wales Primary have been showing their Christian devotion by making Christingles for a service at St Mary’s church in their village and even had the chance to meet the Bishop of Monmouth in person.

The Venerable Richard Pain led a Eucharist service, which remembers the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples, at their school on Monday [December 2].

And of course the Christian festivities would not be complete without the traditional nativity play, which draws dozens of parents each year.

The play, set to be performed on December 12, will give children as young as four the opportunity to tread the boards for one of their first performances ever.

This year, the school in Sycamore Terrace has vowed to put on a traditional show reflecting the Christian ethos of the school.

Reception teacher Lisa Clarke, 41, said: “It’s the highlight of the year. We get a very good turnout. Lots of parents come.

“We started rehearsing two to three weeks ago. It’s very traditional this year, we’re looking at values.”

Play shepherd Owen Luton, four, Joseph – played by Monte Wiltshire, five, Angel Gabriel Imogen Davies, five and even play narrator Lily Catlin, four, were lost for words as the Argus asked them about the rehearsals, though they all agreed it would be nice to perform.

Head teacher Gareth Atwell, 59, said: “It’s tradition. As a church school we can really emphasise the faith element.”

But Christianity is only one aspect of the school’s ethos with an emphasis on cooking, Fairtrade and foreign cultures.

Year one school teacher Nadine Phillips will jet off to Australia with her husband and their two children after Christmas as part of a year-long school exchange programme.

At the same time a teacher from St Mary’s Primary in Armidale, New South Wales, will move into her home and step into her shoes teaching Magor pupils for 12 months.

Her counterpart from Armidale, Judith Muldoon, will not feel out of place as she has previously worked in Powys for a year.

The Commonwealth exchange scheme will help the schoolchildren and staff find out more about what happens Down Under.

Mrs Phillips said: “I’m going from South Wales to New South Wales.

“We’re all moving over for a year. I’m one of seven teachers from the UK to have been picked for this. I’m one of the lucky ones.

“We’re all into mountain walking, adventure holidays and the Great Outdoors.

“I went to the Great Barrier Reef before but this will be the first time going to Australia as a family.

“It’s going to be good for the children here to hear about different cultures and a different country.

“They are very sports orientated in Australia. My children will wear PE kits twice a week.

“The teacher from Australia has got a lot to offer for children and the school, and we hope to link up the two schools.”

Magor Primary also has a big environmental side having just planted an apple tree in an area of the school which could one day become a mini orchard and pupils has also been busy making eight different kinds of soups for their parents.

Year two teacher Sara Wall, 43, said: “They do a lot of weighing and measuring. They chop everything themselves under supervision.

“It’s very popular with the parents because they get their tea cooked.”

Magor Primary also has Fairtade status, which means the school has to select the products it uses, teaches about Fairtrade as part of the curriculum and the children even have to bring in Fairtrade snacks.

The school has undergone significant changes in the last quarter of century, as Magor doubled in size and the intake of the primary jumped by around 75 per cent.

No less than six extensions have been added to the school including a main hall which can accommodate around 400 pupils and is now used by the community for Zumba, tennis and pantomimes.

Mr Atwell said: “One of the biggest changes is the curriculum. When I came here there was no national curriculum.

“Then we got testing, they got rid of testing, and now testing is back.

“One thing that remains constant is the basics, the need to be able to read and count.

“The thing that is really important for us is the way the children are towards each other, their behaviour.

“The children understand with the School Council and being involved in the running of the school.”

Fact File

Head: Gareth Atwell

Acting Deputy Head: Laura Welsh

Chairman of Governors: Rev Jeremy Harris

Pupils: 350

Ages: Three to 11

Motto: Where Children Learn To Shine

Estyn

• Magor Church-in-Wales Primary School has a very caring and welcoming ethos that reflects very well its Christian foundation. Its provision to promote learners’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is exemplary.

• The school is well led, the senior management team is strong and the educational provision enables learners to attain good standards.

• Teaching, training, assessment and pupils’ achievements are good and management is good at evaluating and improving the quality and standards at the school.

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