Torfaen’s biggest primary school this year celebrates its 11th anniversary and continues to build on an excellent reputation.
New Inn Primary was formed in 2006, following the amalgamation of New Inn Infants and Greenlawn Juniors.
The school boasts a huge staff and pupil presence, totalling about 48 and 590 respectively.
Kate Prendergast, who has been head teacher since October 2013, said the school’s vision is “simply to strive for excellence”.
She said: “We want to become an excellent school at the heart of the wider community.
“Natural curiosity and the voice of each individual should and will be valued, nurtured and encouraged to flourish in a safe, secure, happy and stimulating environment.
“We aim to develop high self-esteem and to help pupils reach their full potential.
“Pupils are at the very centre of what we do as a school.
“We believe that the provision of a varied curriculum will prepare our pupils and equip them with the skills for a rapidly changing and challenging world.”
A variety of subjects - in addition to 21 extra-curriculum clubs, such as gardening and rugby - are on offer for pupils, but the school places an extra emphasis on encouraging the Welsh language.
Mrs Prendergast said: “We have been placing emphasis on the Welsh language for a few years now.
“Our students enjoy learning another language and are very good at it.
“It was recommended for us to build on the Welsh language and we continue to do so.
“Our extra curriculum activities are also very popular and there’s something here for everyone.
“Some of the students are currently managing a garden, through the gardening club.”
In addition to the Welsh language, ICT is being encouraged in all subjects, with a hope of making all pupils digitally competent.
“We understand the important of IT,” said Mrs Prendergast.
“We have have introduced a range of steps to help pupils, which includes five iPads and computers in every classroom.
“IT skills are more important that ever before in the world of work and that’s why we want our pupils to be taught IT from early ages.
“Our classrooms all have interactive white boards, which allow our pupils to engage fuller.”
She added: “When our pupils leave they will take with them many IT skills.”
Different lessons have been introduced in an attempt to broaden and develop pupils’ understandings of multiculturalism.
A Year 5 class is currently learning about India and Indian culture, which includes dressing up in traditional Indian costumes.
Mrs Prendergast said: “Classes are enthusiastically taking part in multicultural activities.
“The children are really enjoying learning about Indian culture.
“I can’t think of a better way to learn about different cultures than to learn in the class room.
“There are so many cultures, which totally differ to others, and through reading, writing and watching things our pupils will learn about other cultures.”
The head teacher believes the school is unique for a number of reasons.
She said: “We are unique firstly because we are the largest primary in the area, in terms of the number of pupils.
“The children are also able to voice their opinions through the school council, eco committee and sports ambassadors.
“We’re also unique because our motto is in every aspect of our daily lives.
“We truly do work and learn together and that’s what makes us successful.
“Our pupils are of all abilities and together we help them to succeed.”
Three classrooms out of 18 are dedicated solely for nurture provision, where vulnerable pupils are provided with support.
“We have many pupils who are vulnerable,” said Mrs Prendergast, “and they need extra support to give them help and guidance.
“In these two classrooms pupils are taught many things, such as how to cope with some problems.
“Pupils who go to these classrooms usually have mental or physical issues and we help them there.”
The primary school has recently celebrated winning an array of awards, including being the first school in Wales to win gold standard in the Primary Science Quality Mark.
Mrs Prendergast said: “A lot of hard work went into achieving all of these things.
“For the Primary Science Quality Mark we had to meet a huge criteria and we did.
“We also got the Eco Schools Platinum Award, which involved our staff and pupils meeting certain eco demands, like recycling so many items.”
“We were also very pleased with our ICT Quality mark because of our heavy emphasis on building upon IT skills.”
Other awards won by the school include the Basic Skills Quality mark and Healthy Schools Award.
The school’s rugby team has also been successful, having reached the final of the Pontypool School’s tournaments in 2015 and 2016.
In 2014, the team previously won all three of the Pontypool School’s tournaments and later won the Alun Griffiths Cup in the national 10s tournament in Dunvant.
Currently, the rugby team has seven players selected to play for the Pontypool Schools’ District rugby team.
The headteacher believes the success of the school is a result of hard work put in by both staff and pupils.
She said: “When the two schools amalgamated, of course, there were a few minor issues but they have now gone.
“Staff members give 100 per cent and work to secure end goals.
“They place pupils at the very centre and it continues to pay off.
“Pupils also put in the same amount of work and it is moving and lovely to see this.”
The New Inn school also proudly talks of its close relationship with the community.
Many visitors from the community pay frequent trips to the school, including Laura Roynon, who is from the Pentecostal church.
She said: “I visit the school to talk about Christianity with the children.
“We tend to go into the assembly hall and the children will listen to the stories that I read.
“It is lovely to see the children take such an interest in what I have to say.
“The school and its children has very good links with New Inn and elsewhere.
Mrs Prendergast added: “Our close links aren’t just with New Inn but the whole of Torfaen.
“Lots of pupils come here from all over Torfaen, such as Croesyceiliog.
“I think that shows our strong relationship with the whole of the area.”
For more information on the school, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/EducationLearning/SchoolsColleges/SchoolsDirectory/Schools/New-Inn-Primary.aspx or call 01495 757649.