IN THE heart of Blackwood you’ll find a welcoming and inclusive school which prides itself on giving pupils the best start in life.

Libanus Primary School is at the centre of the community and has taught generations of pupils the skills they need to make their way in the world.

Head teacher Nicola Williams is at the heart of the school and has a supportive team of staff and governors that help her with her vision for the school.

From the moment you step in you feel a welcome, from the staff on reception to the pupils.

Mrs Williams said: “We spent a lot of effort and time making the environment bright, colourful so often people come in and say it’s nice inside.

“Whenever people come and visit they say that there’s a nice feeling in the school and that it’s a nice welcoming and warm atmosphere and I am proud of that.

After 10 years as head teacher of Deri Primary School near Bargoed, Mrs Williams came to the school in September 2015, which was the year of the school’s centenary.

When asked about the ethos of the school Mrs Williams said: “I am very proud of our children.

“The school is a very child-focused and inclusive school and the children do have a say in their education. We work hard to develop them as citizens of the world. Our school ethos is very child-centred.”

The school wants children to be involved in their education and they can get involved in many ways. There is a prefect system in operation at the school where the pupils have to apply for head boy and head girl positions. The process also includes an interview with Mrs Williams and candidates have to present their manifesto in front of the school.

“It was good because it helps give them an idea of what they can expect when they go for jobs,” Mrs Williams said.

“We also have a number of councils at the school, so there is a solid structure where children have plenty of chances to have their say.”

One of the main projects the school is working on is their newly opened Libanus Studios. There pupils can use state-of-the art photography equipment in a professional-style studio as well as relax and do research for their school work.

“That is there to develop their digital competency skills and their creative skills, and that’s creative thinking which will help them in the future. The pupils absolutely love it.

“The school council chose the paint and furniture the design and the layout of the studio and now we have a competition that will launch in January to design the sign.”

The outside of the school is also an area which is utilised by staff and pupils. There is an allotment area where they grow produce and they have a forest area with a log circle for the children as well as forest school activities.

Mrs Williams said: “We are lucky here that we have a big football / netball pitch at the back of the school. We have a quiet area at the front of the school where children practice their skipping skills and have games.

“We also have a writing shed which the school council has put into place so the children can write outside. At the moment we have a project in the infant yard where we will have an area where children can develop different skills. There will be timber trim tails and an imagination village for the four to seven year olds.

“The Friends of Libanus Primary School are fundraising and looking for sponsors for that project.”

The friends of the school actively support the school through events and fundraising. They are also involved in the wider community, including Blackwood Council, and were part of the Velvet Coalmine festival in September and writers and musicians came to the school.

The school choir will be singing in the community in the run-up to Christmas and they will also perform at local nursing homes.

Mrs Williams said: “I have a community cabin on site, so the local playgroup is now sited there and that’s open in the morning and afternoon. Some of the nursey pupils will go there in the afternoon, and that’s really great.”

When it comes to pupil behaviour the onus on behaviour is on the child and good behaviour is rewarded.

Mrs Williams added: “Our rules are Be Ready, Be Respectful and Be Safe. Be ready means be ready for everything, from being ready for lessons to being ready to answer questions. I’m really proud of how respectful our pupils are. Be safe is important too and it’s about teaching children how to be safe, it’s not controlling them but giving them the responsibility.”