TWO Cwmbran primary schools have been using a collaborative music and arts projects to help break down barriers and stigma around disability.

Crownbridge School and Woodlands Community Primary School have created the scheme called "Working Together" which takes place every Monday.

The idea was created by Sally Villa, a music teacher who works at both of the Cwmbran schools, and wanted to help improve the integration.

"I work at both Crownbridge School and Woodlands Community Primary School and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to build links between the two of them," said Mrs Villa.

"I wanted to break down the "walls" and perceived differences between mainstream children and those who have special needs so devised a project to allow the children to get to know each other in a fun setting.

"I titled the project “Working Together”, and eight Year Six pupils came to Crownbridge every Monday to visit Class Six who are similar in age to them.

"I teach music and art at both and find that these are two subjects that are universally enjoyed, regardless of ability or age, so this was the main focus for the morning workshop."

For many of the pupils at Woodlands, according to Mrs Villa, it was a different prospect to go Crownbridge and notice the differences between the two schools.

"We started with a tour of Crownbridge School and the Woodlands pupils were fascinated with the different technologies and equipment that the school has," added the music teacher.

"Crownbridge's deputy head Shane Hayes had already visited Woodlands at the beginning of October to chat to the Year Six pupils and answer any questions they had about anything related to Crownbridge or special education.

"They loved seeing the things that Mr Hayes had talked about and were being used at the school."

Together the pupils sing in a choir together and play games, which helped break the ice between the two student groups and has led to pupils from both schools becoming friends.

"One of the Woodlands pupils said to me "I really enjoyed playing with the kids. It doesn’t matter who they are – they were joyful and kind," said Mrs Villa.