A city school with a village feel is what the staff at one of Gwent’s newest primary schools – Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon – aim to create. ANGHARAD WILLIAMS takes a closer look

Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon is one of three Welsh-medium primary schools located in Newport.

The school aims to offer a welcoming environment where children feel happy and supported. They want to support children and families to get them to aspire to where they want to be in life, and work together as one unit to achieve that goal.

That is echoed by the school’s Estyn Report which said: “Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon is a very happy community in which all pupils and their families are welcomed, respected and supported.”

Head teacher Lona Jones-Campbell has been at the school since it first opened.

The school is named after Teyrnon Twf Gwliant (Teyrnon Great King, Roar of the Sea), a character from the Mabinogion, a collection of medieval Welsh stories. Teyrnon was lord of Gwent-is-Coed, and features in the story of Pwyll and Rhiannon.

The school first opened its door to pupils in September 2011 to meet the increasing demand for Welsh-medium education in the city.

It was first established on a site which it shared with Maindee Primary School. The school opened with 16 children in a starter class for nursery and reception pupils. It then moved to its current site on Brynglas Drive in Newport in 2013.

Mrs Jones-Campbell said: “It was an honour to establish the school. I was seconded from another school authority to work here. It’s been a joy to see the school flourish from its early days.

“A highlight is when I saw the first child wearing the school’s logo. It’s about all of us nurturing each other.

“Establishing the school was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have strived to ensure that a community feeling exists and that we will continue to encourage that. We want to make the whole family feel included at the school, not just the child.”

She added: “The community feeling we have is a strength. We have high attendance at our events and evenings for our parents including workshops.

“Like we established a story time session at the school and that involved parents the PTA which we call the Ffrindiau (friends) and they have taken that out to local libraries where they meet to do bed time stories.”

Mrs Jones-Campbell added: “We wanted to get the community to come in and enjoy the Welsh language and see it alive rather than just in the context of a school setting.”

It’s clear that school prides itself on its community ties and offer a range of opportunities for people to get involved with the school. There are Welsh lessons for adults and coffee mornings and the school have supported the Newport Food Bank by collecting food.

Children are encouraged to present their own ideas and one child asked if the school could get involved in an initiative to support Syrian refugees. The pupil wrote a letter to the community to ask for support and 40 bags of clothing were donated to the national initiative.

They also have allotment areas and living walls for planting which are at an early stage as well as a thriving gardening club.

Children also make their own produce for the Growing Together Market at the school to which the parents attend. This is linked to the school’s healthy living week and work done in the classroom including literacy and numeracy skills.

A farm is also supplying eggs to the school which are also sold through their market.

Mrs Jones-Campbell said: “The children will bring things and ideas in and we will respond to them and they become a school initiative. It’s then used in things like their writing work.

“When we do projects we gather information from pupils so it makes it real and it is of interest to them. When we do that discussion level on things they always bring a personal perspective into things. It just makes it enjoyable.

“Making things happen through the children is a priority rather than doing things for them.”

The school is filled with enthusiasm and enjoyment, and that is on every level from pupils to teachers.

The children support each other and show their appreciation for each other. That appreciation is also shown by parents for the work done in the school and extra work done outside school hours.

The school’s mission statement is ‘Ysgol i Esgor Gobeithion’ which translates to A Place to Nurture our Aspirations. This reflects the aims of the school and the type of place they want to be for pupils.

Mrs Jones-Campbell said: “We want the children to have aspirations in life. We want the children to believe in themselves and although sometimes we will face challenges, that’s part of life, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve.

“I want our children to have aspirations and that they can believe that they can get there, whatever they dream to be, and we can be part of that journey.”

The Welsh language is central to the school and although many parents of the pupils who attend the school don’t speak Welsh they are proud that their children can speak two languages.

Mrs Lona Jones-Campbell said: “There is so much research on brain development and how bilingualism helps them with problem solving. It is all so positive for the pupils.”

Families also embrace the language, especially on the national Shwmae Su’mae Day on October 15, that encourages use of the Welsh language, and parents and the school’s bus drivers used Welsh greetings.

The school has come a long way since it opened its doors to the first pupils.

Next year those pupils who where the first children to attended the school will be moving on to the secondary level at Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed, and there will be an event to mark this before the children leave.

“It’s a very emotional year,” Mrs Jones-Campbell said. “We had the children going in to have their last school photos as Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon pupils. I have a special bond with them because they were the first.

“I am so proud of the pupils and I am going to be just as emotional as the parents on the day they move schools. I am seeing these little people developing into young people that I am so proud of, that’s been a highlight that nobody can take from me.”

Ultimately Mrs Jones-Campbell is proud of the school and of all its achievements.

She said: “I am very proud of the school. I get very emotional when I talk about it because it means so much to us. We have been on a journey and the whole school community has been part of that. I am so grateful for the support of the parents, staff and community, who have all gone above and beyond.”

MOTTO: Ysgol i Esgor Gobeithion – A Place to Nurture our Aspirations

HEAD TEACHER: Lona Jones-Campbell 




LAST INSPECTION: September 2015