From making Welsh cakes to clay modelling and dance classes it’s a hive of activity at Maindee Primary School, Newport.
KATH SKELLON reports.
THE minute visitors step inside Maindee Primary’s modern one-storey building on the banks of the River Usk, they are greeted with huge smiles from pupils whose impressive artwork adorns the many walls and hangs from the ceilings.
The enthusiasm for learning both in the classrooms and outside is infectious and there is a happy hum coming from all areas of the school.
In the nursery the children are having a cookery afternoon and learning how to make Welsh cakes to mark St David’s Day with teacher Sarah Debnam.
Head teacher for the past eight years, Carol Wadsworth, says the school celebrates many occasions on the calendar, most recently pancake day, as well as religious days and holding an eisteddfod.
“It’s important they are always motivated and engaged in what they are doing and learning life skills,” she adds.
“This is a rich and vibrant learning environment for them and one in which they are encouraged to be independent,” says Mrs Wadsworth.
There are several open classrooms in each corridor where children concentrate on crafts such as clay modelling and painting.
“If they are happy they will learn more,” says Mrs Wadsworth.
In the school hall, Maindee Dance Troupe rehearses its routined up to twice a week.
The group is currently preparing to perform at the Newport Dance Festival in the Dolman Theatre.
“They will pick the songs they want to dance to and choreograph their own routines to any kind of modern pop song,” says Mrs Wadsworth.
Year Six pupils are proud of their latest project that saw them design and make pop-up cards.
The project was part of a visit to Maindee Library for World Book Day where visiting author Robert Crowther who creates pop-up books ran a workshop.
A group of science pupils are following a sensory trail around the school grounds as part of the Newport Science Scheme which sees them blindfolded while taking part is taste testing and trying to work out where they are in the school.
Outside in the courtyard, pupils can sit quietly or read and enjoy an array of trees and plants.
They are encouraged to join the school council and eco-committee and also spend time in the school’s grounds planting vegetables.
“These council’s give them the opportunity to help make important decisions and play a part in promoting healthy eating,” added Mrs Wadsworth.
“They have been designing a healthy lunchbox as well as coming up with ideas and designing a fruit trolley.”
The pupils regularly visit Newport Market to buy vegetables which they bring back and cook in the school.
Mrs Wadsworth said for more than 80 per cent of the pupils English is their second language and praised their ability to master it so quickly.
There are many popular afterschool clubs, the latest being table tennis. Mrs Wadsworth says the sport gives pupils a completely new skill with lighter balls and a focus on hand and eye co-ordination.
Other clubs include a choir, learning musical instruments, gymnastics, rugby, football, gardening and jewellery-making.
“We are an inclusive school that focuses on providing a rich and varied curriculum to help pupils reach their full potential.”
“The ethos of the school is a very happy one.”
Each Friday pupils gather in the hall at the end of the day for an achievement ceremony where pupils are rewarded for good behaviour.
When asked what she hopes her pupils will take with them when they leave, Mrs Wadsworth says: “I hope that we equip them with a set of skills in literacy, numeracy and personal and social skills in order to live in this multi-cultural world that lies in front of them.”
“I would like them to be happy, confident and independent individuals.
“Our vision is learning and living in harmony and our success is framed around that.”
Maindee Primary School,
Ages: three to eleven
Chairman of governors:
FOLLOWING an inspection in 2010 Carolyn Jane Thomas found Maindee Primary to be a good school where learners make outstanding progress in developing their communication skills.
Mathematical skills are good when used to support their work in a range of subjects and the relationship between staff and pupils are a strength of the school that inspires them to achieve the very best in their lessons.
She said the school provides an extensive range of activities that extend and enhance curriculum, including well- planned educational visits and a wealth of extracurricular activities.