SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: Llanvihangel Crucorney Primary

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Llanvihangel Crucorney Primary is a small school with a big heart where pupils embrace the motto C.H.U.M.S-Caring, Helping, Understanding, Making friends and Sharing.

IT MAYBE the end of term for children at Llanvihangel Crucorney Primary but they are showing no signs of slowing down.

As we are greeted by headteacher Sherri Davies shortly before Christmas, there are dozens of junior pupils flying past us as they enjoy their morning run around the grounds.

“It's something we introduced several years ago as part of their early morning routines and is led by teacher, Helen Pritchard, “ explained Mrs Davies.

“They start running for up to about three to four minutes in September and by Christmas they will be doing up to ten minutes.”

"It energises them, setting them up for the day to learn in the classroom."

"It's not competitive, is fun and teaches them about being healthy and about fitness for life," said Mrs Davies.

The school prides itself on it healthy living, with all school meals cooked on site by Mrs Teresa Matthews in the kitchen. It has also achieved its Monmouthshire Healthy Schools Scheme Phase Four award.

Today the school is raising funds for Save the Children by inviting pupils to wear a customised Christmas jumper, which feature dozens of impressive Christmas trees and tinsel decorations.

"The children bring in a donation to wear their jumpers which all look amazing," explained Mrs Davies.

"This is just one of many fundraising initiatives the school gets involved in. We also raised funds for Children in Need, Comic Relief and have a very active parent teacher association who work very hard all year round to buy equipment and other things we need."

Despite being a relatively small building the children make use of every corner of the classrooms and school hall.

“It is always busy with things constantly happening but it’s always fun.”

As Mrs Davies walks us around, there is a hive of activity from children practising their writing to using interactive whiteboards and making crafts.

In the foundation class the pupils are running their own 'Pandy Fruit and Veg' Shop which they use to practise their numeracy, social and literacy skills and role play as part of this term's topic.

Across the hall, in Ms Pritchard's class, pupils are using interactive whiteboards to learn Welsh. The session is not teacher-led and involves the children asking their fellow pupils questions about things like the weather and news.

"It helps to build their confidence in learning Welsh and ICT," explained Ms Pritchard.

Their enthusiasm for learning and developing their skills is infectious.

"No two days are ever the same," admits Mrs Davies.

“Today they are rehearsing their performance of 'Away in a Manger' for a Christmas service at St Michael's Church in Llanvihangel Crucorney. They have also been making Christmas cakes which they will decorate this afternoon and take home before the end of term on Friday.

"It's a school tradition that we carry out every year.

"The children enjoyed baking with the help of Mrs Matthews and some of the parents who came in to lend a hand."

"The ethos of our school is C.H.U.M.S- caring helping understanding making friends and sharing.

There are three houses within the school, Skirrid, Blorenge and Sugarloaf that the children belong to. Each one has a house captain that is encouraged to take responsibility for a range of areas of house life including leading weekly house assemblies.

“Our aim is to provide a safe and happy school where all are able to do their best,” said Mrs Davies.

"Each week we celebrate pupils' achievements and good behaviour in our ' Good as Gold' Friday assembly. The children are presented with a star of the week award which states why it has been awarded which could be for something they worked for outside of school.”

“We are always celebrating and supporting their achievements and outside of school we have children who are excelling in sports such as cycling and kick boxing.”

The school’s noticeboard and reception area displays the many awards and competitions the school has won and its fundraising efforts during the past year.

“We run a breakfast club and several after-school clubs including football, which is led by our caretaker Tony Johnson and chess.”

The school has extensive outdoor grounds offering pupils a wide range of activities ranging from using an adventure trail, learning within a wildlife garden, a willow tunnel and play areas.

“We’re very active and take part in a number of local events each term including the Abergavenny Rotary Club’s Swimathon in November, the Abergavenny Eisteddfod and the Cluster School’s Cross Country event.”

“We have a fantastic PTFA who raise funds for our equipment from whiteboards to the adventure trail and ipads.”

“They make a huge difference as do our supportive governing body,” she added.

When asked what she hopes the children leave Llanvihangel Crucorney with, Mrs Davies says she wants them to have the skills needed for the transition to King Henry VIII Comprehensive, where the pupils will go onto study.

FACTFILE:

Llanvihangel Crucorney Primary, Wern Gifford, Pandy.

Headteacher Mrs Sherri Davies

Chairman of Governors Mr Mark Egerton

Number of pupils 55

Ages: 4 to 11

Last Inspection: November 2009

Estyn Inspector Robert Stuart Wormleighton found Llanvihangel Crucorney to be a good school with many outstanding features. He said the development of pupils' personal social and learning skills is good with outstanding features. They work well together, their skills of working independently and taking responsibility for their own learning are well developed. Pupils are well prepared for life in the community and the quality of teaching is a strength of the school. Through excellent classroom management teachers and learning assistants create supportive relationships and inclusion is an outstanding feature of the school.

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