SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: Millbrook Primary School, Bettws

South Wales Argus: SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: Millbrook Primary School, Bettws SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: Millbrook Primary School, Bettws

Pupils at Millbrook Primary School are busy honing their skills to become a successful future generation as SOPHIE BROWNSON discovers.

ARRIVING at Millbrook Primary School, I was greeted by smiling head teacher Lindsey Watkins who immediately took me on a tour of the school in all its glory.

Introducing me to a group of pupils on the school council, Mrs Watkins showed me the huge playground and chatted excitedly about the school’s hive of activity.

“The school has a ‘Leading Lights Group’ and they are at the heart of the school,” she said.

“The pupils work with me and a sub-committee of the school council and look at learning throughout the school.

“The children now have plans to set up new sub committees and would like to find out about the United Nations right of a child, and other types of worship. The children are the citizens of the future.”

As well as an active school council, there is also a head boy and girl from year six – Libby Price and Logan Johnson.

“They all applied for the role and the calibre this year was so high that we have four deputies,” Mrs Watkins added.

The school has an active eco group who have received their third green flag and are now making a conscious effort to conserve energy throughout the school and send out messages to parents regarding recycling.

including plans to recycle Christmas cards.

Visiting a language class, I am shown how the school focuses on preparing the children for the modern world with lessons in Mandarin taught by teacher Mrs Na Guan as China comes to the forefront of global business.

“We are trying to equip the children with the skills they need for the 21st century so we are learning Mandarin Chinese and embracing digital technology in our digital den,” Mrs Watkins said.

“We also have a heavy focus on English and maths to give the children the skills they need so that they can have good jobs and good lives.”

The school is also in the process of applying for the International School Award as part of the school’s aim to introduce the international dimension into school learning.

“We have integrated the global dimension into learning in the school as the children are learning about different cultures and countries,” Mrs Watkins said.

“China is only one of the countries we have made links with.

“We have also made links with France and a nursery in Brazil as well as the USA.”

In addition to the school’s main curriculum, children are offered a whole host of after-school enrichment in the form of clubs such as ICT, gymnastics, rugby, football and dance. Alongside this the school has a big focus on music with pupils learning to play African drums in classes as well as pupils getting involved in non-traditional options such as beat boxing and creating music on iPads.

The school also has a nutrition group, which was the result of the work the children had completed to achieve three healthy school award.

As part of this, the school has set up a snack shack – a nutritional action group set up to promote healthy eating where the children can receive fruit and milk during breaks.

“The snack shack was set up in September 2013 and aims to encourage children to eat healthily at break and lunch times,” Mrs Watkins said.

“I think our hopes for the future are to continue to look at the developing society as we want to be teaching the children new things all of the time because at some point the things we teach them will go out of date.

“So we will keep with the times and modify the curriculum accordingly. We are striving to be better.”

As part of the main curriculum pupils use literacy programme Read Write Inc on a daily basis supported by additional staff who help pupils catch up with their literacy skills.

“We have a clear focus on literacy and mathematics,” Mrs Watkins said.

“We have had a huge push on that in the last few years and I am very proud of the team here who all work incredibly hard and make the difference.”

During my tour around the school, one thing that becomes particularly apparent is the fact that it is very much a family school, with many parents getting involved in the school both in and out of school hours.

Families also have access to free training in fits first aid and digital skills as well as literacy and numeracy.

“We like to work with families,” Mrs Watkins said.

“If we support the family, we support the child.”

“Parents get involved in healthy eating club by learning how to cook healthy food.”

As part of this the caring element of the schools motto “Learning about caring; Caring about learning” is shown in their nurture programme; an initiative designed to help their wellbeing so that the children are happy and learn more effectively.

“Children are at the heart of the school,” Mrs Watkins added.

“We have a dedicated nurture room to target the children who need that kind of care on a daily basis. We just want them to be happy.”

FACT FILE

Pupils: 198

Years: Reception to Year 6

Ages: 3-11

Chair of Governors: Ian Davies

Head: Lindsey Watkins

Deputy Head: Helen Hampson

Motto: “Learning about caring; Caring about learning”

ESTYN REPORT

The school’s last inspection was carried out in 2009 by Michael T. Ridout.

• Pupils’ personal, social, moral and wider development is good. They have a growing understanding of equal opportunities and a sound understanding of diversity.

• The school is successful in preparing pupils to take an active role in the local community but their awareness of the workplace is less well developed.

• The school makes good provision to develop basic skills in English and mathematics, but opportunities to develop key skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT are not always fully developed

• Across the school there is both enthusiasm and commitment to promote bilingual skills.

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