HAVING previously been a separate junior school, infant and nursery with two head teachers, St Julian’s Primary School, Newport, was amalgamated with the stand-alone nursery in the same grounds in 2009.

At the moment, the school has 630 pupils on roll across the site, and the nursery currently has 78 children attending, with 20 classes across the primary school and around 60 members of staff.

The primary had its last Estyn inspection two years after amalgamation; being rated as ‘good’, with their estimation for progress said to be ‘excellent’.

Current head teacher David Rees has been at St Julian’s for many years, and the school has two deputy head teachers: Claire Orford and Luke Mansfield.

St Julian’s Primary is a new deal pioneer school, which means it does school-to-school work and supports other sites, providing training for teachers at different levels.

“We run a course here aiming at excellence and teachers come from other schools and spend some time having support,” Mr Rees said.

“They also add to us because the discussions we have are very useful and help us learn a lot.”

The school is also a digital pioneer school – one of 12 primary schools across Wales to be selected – and have been one for the last four terms.

“We look at these across, and we are close towards seeing the use of technology in every subject and every lesson,” Mr Rees added.

“Mr Mansfield has done lots of work on coding, which seems very grand and tough for primary pupils but the work is around learning to put the right instructions into what they are doing.

“We have done activities for different stages in the school but we also do green screen work as well and use Chromebooks.”

Deputy head teacher Mr Mansfield leads the 21st-century learning sessions, and has been involved with the Welsh Government in looking at the curriculum for future digital learning.

He said: “Digital competence is all about using a range of technology and preparing children as they’re obviously going to encounter a range of technology when they leave school.

“So now we can iPads, Chromebooks, PCs and Apple Macs, and the idea being that children can become competent in them all by the time they leave the school.”

Pupils recently visited Glyn Anwen, a residential care home located opposite the school, to show residents how to use the internet and do online shopping.

Performing arts is also a large focus for the site, spending several months working on the Christmas nativity play.

Mr Rees said: “We will have around 520 children performing in a nativity play leading up to Christmas.

“Performing arts is important in the school, and we do believe children learn considerably from performing on the stage.”

The school also has a large summer production that has grown in size over the years, and includes dancers, singers, the school choir and children playing musical instruments.

“They have always been well received and it’s great to have good responses from parents,” said Mr Rees.

Another aspect that the school focuses on is maintaining a good relationship with children’s parents, aiming to work together with them over extra-curricular activities.

The school has trialled different activities, sessions and workshops over the years.

The latest workshop the primary held was a ‘St Julian’s Bake Off’, pitting 13 teams of mums, dads and children against each other.

Mr Mansfield said it was a great way to help the pupils learn team work and develop their numeracy skills.

“Because the children had to bake a cake, they had to read the recipe correctly, know what ingredients they needed to add when and they also needed to weigh them and double or halve the amount of mixture,” he said.

“It was a lot of fun for the children and also great fun for the parents.”

Mr Rees added: “We want to work closely with them and we want them to work closely with us. We want the best for every child and we need mums and dads to support us, and they want the best for their child as well.”


Motto: Learning Together Hand in Hand

Head teacher: David Rees

Chairman of governors: Deborah Davis

Number of pupils: 630

Age of pupils: two to 11-years-old

Last inspection: January 2011

The school’s performance was rated as ‘good’ with its prospects for improvement rated as ‘excellent’.