Undy Primary is a small, tight-knit school where helping others and each other is at the heart of its philosophy. CHRIS WOOD found friendly staff, pupils and some furry friends.

IT PERHAPS says something about the philosophy at Undy Primary School that around 100 youngsters are on stage for a rehearsal of the Christmas play.

For many pantos and plays, you get one, two, maybe three performers hogging the limelight as the central characters.

But, as Year One and Two pupils sit together, passing the microphone around to practice their lines for Whoops-a-Daisy Angel, you get the impression that every single child is as relevant as the next.

This togetherness is evident in the playground as well.

While the younger and older children play in different areas – “to stop the younger ones getting accidentally knocked over,” the headteacher says – the two groups are still linked.

As the youngest children finish their rehearsal, some of the oldest ones are on their part of the yard, getting hula hoops and footballs out and organising games for them to play.

These are peer support students and, as headteacher Mark Gunn explains: “They organise games and play with the little ones. It is a great way of integrating different ages, especially because some have younger brother and sisters here.”

Mr Gunn jokingly scolds a youngster who walks past with a bag of crisps, which illustrates another very important feature of break times at the school.

They are big on snacks at this school but, as Mr Gunn points out, crisps are the “wrong type of snack”. Cartons of peeled carrots, oranges, apple slices and other fruit sit on a wall, as if they are fuel supplies for youngsters to stock up on, in between running around, playing on the climbing frame and kicking a football.

This is an important part of the healthy-eating drive, with parents giving £1 for the fruit to be purchased from local suppliers and helping to cut, peel and give it out.

But, it’s not just the wellbeing of the pupils that features centrally, it is also the environment, with an ecocommittee going around the classrooms turning off lights, closing doors and collecting recycling such as paper, cardboard and yoghurt pots.

Such moves have helped the school reduce its black bag rubbish by 70 per cent in the last few years and gain two green flags. Teachers are hoping to gain a prestigious platinum award in the next 18 months.

Youngsters love going around with pick-up sticks, taking away any rubbish from the playground, while parts of the school are dark as another environmental initiative has seen the school take part in Switch-off Fortnight.

But, this is just the start of the goodwill you find at this school. Youngsters collect Biros and felt pens, with every one raising 2p for chosen charity Macmillan Cancer, while they raised £500 for Children in Need by going to school wearing something spotty.

And while the overall focus is on everyone working together, there is occasionally time to spotlight an individual star. Emyr Thomas, ten, was a Pupil of the Week for his Year Six class.

He was given the accolade for writing a story on Robin Hood from the viewpoint of Sir Guy of Gisbourne. All 13 classes have a Pupil of the Week.

But, some of the most important members of this school community are of the furry variety. There were originally two ‘female’ rabbits purchased as pets, but when two became six, it was soon realised one was male.

There is a rabbit rota, with all pupils given the opportunity to handle them every day.

They also clean their cages.

Mr Gunn added: “We’ve even got leads for them and used to take them for walks on the grass. But, they soon learned if they put their heads down, they could slip off the lead and escape!”

Pupils cultivate cherry trees, tomatoes, potatoes, beans and courgettes in the garden.

There is a wide range of activities across the classes.

The reception class are mirroring the movements of their teacher with paper cups in practical maths and then running around Sammy the Scarecrow outside, with policeman hats on.

Older children play on the climbing frame bought through £3,000 raised by Friends of Undy School, before learning about the media and history, receiving instructions in English and Welsh.

On the walls are drawings of the student council next to their manifesto: showing that at every level, pupils and teachers are sharing ideas and coming together to improve the tight-knit school community even more.

School fact file

Number of pupils: 342 (aged three to 11)

Year founded: 1986

Headmaster: Mark Gunn

Chairwoman of governors: Isabel Williams.

Number of teachers: 22

Last inspection: September 2009 - “A good school with outstanding features.”