PUPILS are on the stepping stones to success at Trinant Primary School. KATH SKELLON reports.
AT TRINANT Primary School every step each child makes no matter how small is valued.
“Our motto is Stepping Stones to Success’ which reflects how we as a community value every step that each individual child makes no matter how small,” said head teacher Sian James, when the Argus visited before Christmas.
“We are a very inclusive school that skillfully analyses all the information on each pupil to provide individualised learning and interventions wherever needed,” added Mrs James, who first came to the school 18 years ago as a teacher before it was merged, and became the head two years ago.
“Self evaluation is at the heart of the school and as a team we are continually looking at how we can improve.
“The school’s core values are interwoven into everything we do and children easily recognise and understand how they can be successful.
“One of our main core values that we are very proud of is that we treat each other like family.
“The school really is the heart of the community where we strive to develop life-long learning with all our families.
“Once staff join the school they very rarely leave due to the welcoming and loving atmosphere within school.”
The first half of the school year has been a busy one.
“We may be a small school but there is always something happening. It’s a hub of activity.”
Mrs James beams with pride as she recalls one of its proudest moments in November.
“The choir was asked to perform at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff at the 1,000 voices concert in aid of Children in Need.
“They were so impressive during rehearsals that we were seated at the front of the stage.
“We were the only school in Caerphilly to take part.”
There have been several school trips including to Dan yr Ogof Caves and the cinema in Cwmbran to see Frozen, as well as swimming lessons at Cefn Fforest Leisure Centre.
“We expect a very high standard of behaviour from the children and they are absolutely brilliant. People have commented that when they are out on trips they are a credit to the school.”
The children’s talents are recognised in a Celebration Friday assembly.
As we tour the school with Mrs James the children’s enthusiasm for learning and the happy atmosphere is infectious.
There are children playing instruments as the choir members practise their singing, another group is tending to the school’s chickens in a pen within the grounds, while another class are using mini iPads to carry out independent research.
In years three and four the children have been learning about the Romans.
The school’s many walls are adorned with colourful artwork and projects that include the Big Pit at Blaenavon.
In the school hall we can hear years five and six practising the ukulele.
“They absolutely love it,” said Mrs James.
“It helps to develop their confidence and with maths through the rhythm and beats.”
“I want them to have a go at anything and to experience success.
“Positive school rules are developed in each class which ensures that all children ‘buy in’ to them. This results in well-behaved children who always receive praise on their conduct wherever they go.
“The school merit system also ensures that children are rewarded for striving to achieve our core values.”
Weekly clubs such as gymnastics, choir, cookery, drama, zumba, multi sports and rugby are a prominent feature at the school which offers children a range of experiences outside of the learning day to try and broaden their horizons as much as possible.
“We run a variety of after school clubs and are very fortunate to have retired volunteers who run weekly craft, Bible Explorers and additional maths sessions for the more able pupils throughout the week.
“We encourage them to grasp as many opportunities as they can.”
The school also runs a popular residential trip for years five and six every year.
Outdoor bound weekends have included stays at Brecon and Hilston Park with this year’s visit already booked for Atlantic College, Llantwit Major.
“We have a supportive ‘Friends of the School’ committee who organise events and fundraise and I am supported by a very strong team of staff.”
The school lies within a vast outdoor area with plenty of activities for the children to enjoy. Significant developments in the last year have been driven by a very vocal school council and eco committee and there is also a gardening club.
This includes having an outdoor classroom created, an activity trim trail, a log circle and new outdoor fantasy role play houses for all the Foundation Phase classes.
“We are very lucky with our grounds,” said Mrs James.
“The school council and eco-committee are constantly coming up with ideas.”
The school is celebrating after receiving a green flag award and an active mark for the high quality physical education opportunities offered.
Initiatives in the classroom include The Big Write, which is an approach to teaching writing using vocabulary, openness and punctuation (VCOP)
“It has helped to raise the children’s level of writing and encouraged them to come in with a fantastic ‘wow’ word that we have not heard of before.”
As we visit one classroom where even the youngest pupils are making good use of mini i-Pads, Mrs James said there has been significant investment in new equipment.
The children were thrilled to welcome new friends last year in the form of chickens.
They set up a camera and were able to watch them hatch and now care for them in a specially built chicken coup.
“It’s wonderful for them and they all take turns in looking after them and sell the eggs to staff. The money is used to buy feed and for improvements.
“As we strive to offer children the best start in life we have inherited the Flying Start initiative to join us on site. Extensive building upgrades have been made to the nursery class and community room in preparation for daily sessions for two-year-olds and a host of support classes for parents.
“This is a huge bonus to our community and is eagerly awaited.”
When asked what she hopes the children leave Trinant Primary with, Mrs James replies: “As developed, rounded children who aspire to go out and grab opportunities.
“I want them to be well-rounded confident children.”
Trinant Primary School, Conway Road, Pentwyn, Crumlin.
Headteacher: Sian James
Chair of governing bodies: Mrs Linda Harris
Pupils on roll: 154 includes 1 part time nursery pupils.
THE last inspection report was carried out in 2013 by Christopher Dolby. In his report he found the performance of the school to be good because most pupils make appropriate progress and many achieve high standards in literacy and communication skills and that levels of care, support and guidance are very good.
Pupils are polite and courteous to visitors and to each other, and their behaviour is very good. He also said the school council works enthusiastically to support the school.