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A NEWPORT school which prides itself on making links with the world is aiming to make all its pupils “global citizens”.

Millbrook Primary School, which is tucked away in Bettws, was established in September 2007, following the amalgamation of Millbrook infant and junior schools.

Lindsey Watkins, who has been head teacher for 10 years, believes the school is “unique” as it is attempting to foster international links.

“We are very unique in this way,” said Mrs Watkins. “We’re opening links with the rest of the world.

“The main reason for this is that we think our pupils need to be aware of the world – rather than just knowing things locally.

“Not that long ago, we had a class partner itself with one in France and the pupils were taken to where the Battle of the Somme took place and they met Prince Charles there.

“As I said before, I think this makes us very unique and we’re proud of our international links.”

Mrs Watkins believes that the recent news of Millbrook Primary being the first school in Europe to join an international initiative, which sees pupils discuss world problems, shows that the school is “truly global”.

She said: “One World Group allows our pupils and international pupils to discuss lots of problems.

“I think it’s fantastic that we’re the first school, not just in the UK, but in Europe to get involved.

“The children thoroughly enjoy it and learn so much information.

“I know they’ve Skyped children as far way as Mexico and have talked about solving various problems, such as poverty.”

The head teacher added that she had recently been to Harvard University, with other members of staff, to discuss the project.

She said: “We learned a lot from our time in America.

“The knowledge that we’ve gained can help our pupils become global citizens of the future.

“When I say ‘global citizens’ I mean for our pupils to be fully aware of the rest of the world and be a part of it.”

The school also houses a Confucius classroom, where pupils are able to study Mandarin.

Mandarin sessions are offered to Year 3, 4 and 5 pupils during one afternoon per week.

Megan Hutton, who is in Year 5, said she “enjoys” studying Mandarin.

She said: “I’ve just done a qualification in Mandarin and I worked very hard to get it.

“Mandarin is difficult because it’s not like English at all but I like to learn about it.

“Being able to speak Mandarin will help me because China is a big country which makes lots of jobs.

“When I’m older I want to run an international school and learning Mandarin will help me.”

Mrs Watkins said: “The opportunity to travel to China, to experience the culture, the language and to learn about the education system has been amazing.

“Not only has this enabled us to better understand Chinese culture and language but it has enabled us to forge good links with schools in China.

“We really value this partnership – it enables us to open a window to the world for our school community.

“China’s place in the world has increased and our pupils will benefit in the long term if they have experience in the language.”

She added: “We are one of two primary schools in Wales to have a Confucius institute and we’re very proud of this fact.

“What is equally important to us is that pupils are happy and have fun.”

In the centre of the modern school is a garden which helps pupils with specific needs.

“Lots of people are shocked when they see this,” said Mrs Watkins.

“Not many schools have a garden and a tree in its centre.

“This area is meant to be relaxing to allow pupils to have time out from their daily activities.

“There’s lots of relaxing things for the children to do here, like looking in the insect area, building things or just sitting down and thinking of things.”

She added: “We’ve also had puppies brought in for well-being.

“They’re brought in a couple of times a year because they can help staff and children de-stress from things.

“As you can imagine, seeing puppies makes everyone very, very happy.”

Adjacent to Millbrook Primary School is woodland and hidden away inside it is a Forest School area.

The area can be visited and used by all pupils, to learn various skills.

Mrs Watkins said: “For lots of the children, this is their favourite thing in the entire school.

“The Forest School area captures our children’s curiosity and imagination and also helps them to develop skills.

“They can learn how to light fires here for example or even go insect collecting.”

Thomas Williams, whose son goes to Millbrook Primary School, said that the Forest School area is his son’s “favourite place to go”.

He said: “My son is only seven but he loves to go in that area with his friends.

“I think it’s a really good idea because if the other children are like my son then they must really enjoy being out in the forest.

“Millbrook Primary School is a fantastic school because not only do the staff push for the children to be a great success, they also care deeply for them.

“What more could a parent ask for than to see children having fun and being happy.”

Mrs Watkins said that the primary school is also “community-friendly”.

She said: “ The school is situated at the heart of the Bettws community.

“We have very close links with the community.

“In the past the school and the community have both come together and we’ve achieved great things.

“I know that we’ve solved problems with anti-social behaviour.”

The head teacher added that the school’s ultimate aim is to “keep up with the world”.

She said: “We want to be firmly situated in the world and for our pupils to be global citizens.

“In order to do this we need to keep up with the world and what’s going on.

“We are a talented school and we will continue to plough our time and effort into this for our pupils.

“The children’s success and happiness are of great importance to us.”

For more information on the One World Group, visit oneworlduv.com/

Factfile:

Ages: Three to 11.

Head teacher: Mrs Lindsey Watkins.

Language: English, Welsh, Polish, Nigerian, Portuguese, Japanese, Lithuanian, Filipino, Swedish, Jamaican and Romanian.

Number of pupils: 252.

Number of teaching staff: 12.

Motto: Learning about caring, caring about learning.

Last Estyn report: Good in November 2016.