It may be pretty cold outside at the moment, but dozens of pupils at a Valleys school breakfast club are assured a warm welcome.


TWO years after Queen Street Primary was nationally recognised for giving children a healthy early morning start, the initiative is still going strong.

In 2010 the Abertillery school won in the National Breakfast Club awards organised by cereals giant Kellogs, after leading the way for the previous six years. Chosen as one of the pilot schools in 2004, children fromnursery to Year 6 are dropped off by their parents and enjoy an assortment of foods including toast and fruit.

But it does not stop there – a whole host of activities is provided for the children, including table football, computer roomgames and puzzles. The scheme was so successful in the Valleys more than half of the children attended every morning.

“The club is very successful and an integral part of the community,”

said acting head teacher Judith Cleaves.

Mrs Cleaves, who is also head at Blaentillery, spends two days there and three at this school.

Its layout represents some challenges for the keen school leader, who wants the best for pupils at both schools.

“This is a town school and much more urban,” she explains about the building encompassed by stone walls.

“It is Victorian and more than 100 years old. There’s a lack of space on the playing fields and not enough roomto play football, but we make the best of it.”

If the thriving breakfast club is anything to go by, they certainly do. Fromthe club’s Kellog’s £1,500 winnings, the school purchased a newTV and DVDplayer, and exercise equipment. Soon it will be undergoing some improvements to its interior, lowering the ceilings to make teaching easier and replacing the wooden windows with PVC ones.

But while the school is battling against its aged frame, the youngsters inside bring it to life. Recently, four white boards have been installed and the walls are colourfully decorated with recent projects.

One of the newest things Mrs Cleaves brought in is a residential trip to Cardiff, where Year 6 pupils learn about the city.

Called the ‘transition project’, the pupils have the chance to visit the Millennium Centre, take a river trip and visit the castle to hear about its history.

“It helps them make the connections between the life of coal miners and howdifferent it was to those living in Cardiff,” said Mrs Cleaves.

The school’s pupils take pride in their drama work, and at the end of last summer put on a big performance of Annie. This included some of the children fromBlaentillery who enjoy the subject.

The variety of the children’s education is enhanced further by two volunteers who come into school. They are particularly inspired by self-styled “Lord of Steel” Ivor Beynon, who once auditioned forX Factor. The Welsh heavy metal singer comes in and helps pupils with their reading.

“I think what’s really important is some of the boys have a good role model. Ivor is really good with them,”

said Mrs Cleaves.

And to be especially apt, pupils of this Queen Street Primary have met the Queen and Prince Charles when they came to Cardiff.

“He asked what school we were from, spoke to the children and they were thrilled,”

said Mrs Cleaves.

For the coming months there are a number of goals the school would like to achieve and one of these is getting a Green Flag.

Mrs Cleaves clearly loves being in her position and working with her team of staff.

“We have great staff who make the best of our environment,”

she said. “I like the characters of the children and their enthusiasm and the fact they are proud in the school.”

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School ethos is inclusive

THE school’s last inspection was in 2009.

The report said that pupils achieve good standards regardless of their backgrounds.

It described Queen Street as a “good school” with some outstanding features.

“Pupils progress well because of the school’s high-quality provision and supportive inclusive ethos,” it said.


Head teacher: Judith Cleaves Number of pupils: 148 Year school opened: 1867 Year range: Three to11 year-olds, nursery to year six Number of staff: Seven teachers, eight teaching assistants, ten support staff Motto: Caring about learning, learning about caring