AT THE heart of a rural town lies a school that prides itself on developing the citizens of the future.

Usk Church in Wales Primary School is just a short walk from the Monmouthshire town’s shopping area of delis, boutiques and cafes.

The school motto is “Believe, achieve, succeed” and school life is built around that ethos.

Head teacher Victoria Evans has been working at the school five years.

For two of those she was deputy head, and she became head in 2015.

She said the motto is central to the school’s work: “We want our children to believe that anything is possible, that they can achieve anything and that permeates everything.

“We want to equip them for life.

“We offer children the core basics, but also the opportunity for sport, music and outdoor learning.”

The school opened in 1985 and the school had big celebration for their 30th anniversary in 2015. It has facilities including a music and green screen studio, a science classroom, IT suite and libraries.

Mrs Evans said: “I’ve brought more creativity into learning since I became head.

“We have been selected as a lead creative school by the Arts Council and are about to embark on our third project.

“All of the children made a CD and our Year 6 pupils work with filmmakers and made a film about sustainability. The creativity, music, dance and drama, they can really enhance their learning.”

The school’s catchment area is Usk and the surrounding area and Mrs Evans says the community and parents are hugely supportive of the school.

She said: “I am very fortunate to have fantastic support from our parent, teachers and friends association who raise a substantial amount of money for the school.

“Things like the music studio, the outdoor gym equipment, the development of the outdoor area and the successes of the school - that’s because of the support of the community.”

The school’s grounds are part of the Usk in Bloom project and the school will be featured on a programme which will air on the BBC in May about the Britain in Bloom competition.

Walk around the grounds and the number of different play areas that offer something for pupils of all ages becomes apparent.

One of the key features is the outdoor gym equipment which came after a request from the pupils.

“Health and wellbeing is high on the agenda,” Mrs Evans said.

“The children told us that they wanted climbing frames and timber trails at the school, so we looked into it for them.”

Another unique feature at the school are its three chickens: Whinny, Peggy and Dilys.

Mrs Evans said: “The children look after them and the eggs are used for cooking or we sell them .

“We also grow produce on an allotment and we sell it at our summer after-school markets and then that money goes back into the gardens which the children are responsible for.

“We have a very active gardening club and children will come with their families at weekends and during holidays to do work. We are really lucky.

“We are building the future citizens of our world and I think they should have the belief that they can make a difference from a young age. It’s so important, encouraging that independence and that value in their role.

“We have lots of pupil groups including the pupil voice, Criw Cymraeg, digital leaders, and children take responsibility for improving the school very seriously.

“They have roles to improve playtimes, promote the use of the Welsh language and help develop an understanding of Welsh issues.

“Our ambassador pupils are really key. They are almost part of the leadership team of the school representing the pupil voice. We think we know what a 10-year-old child wants but not always.”

The school is twinned with a school in Usk’s twin town of Graben Neudors in Germany, and trips to the town are planned for the future.

Religion plays a part in school life as do the close ties they have with the local church.

Mrs Evans said: “We are a church school so our Christian ethos runs through everything we do.

“We have strong connections with Priory Church of St Mary in Usk and Reverend Kevin Hasler is the vicar there. He is one of our governors and he leads collective worship on a Monday.

“We have a Eucharist service in the school every half term and we have about 60 children who take Holy Communion then.”

The school is a focal point for the community and are supportive of the work they do, while staff are also involved in running a number of clubs at the school.

“Everyone works incredibly hard and the children come first,” Mrs Evans said. “The teachers run afterschool clubs like zumba, sewing, football, rugby.

“We aim to nurture and develop the creativity of our children so they can achieve their potential and grow into well rounded individuals.”

The next few months are set to be busy. They will open their doors to other schools who will come and see their IT work.

Pupils who leave the school keep in contact with the school and teachers.

Mrs Evans said: “We have lots of volunteers and when the pupils go for work experience we have students who come back and we work closely with Caerleon Comprehensive School and Monmouth Comprehensive School on transition and cluster working.”

Ultimately the school and staff’s focus is the pupils “The children put a smile on your face every day,” Mrs Evans said. “I don’t stay in my office all the time, I feel I need to see the pupils during the day.

“That’s why you go into this job, to be with the children. It’s too hard a job to do not to love it.”

  • MOTTO: Believe, achieve, succeed
  • HEAD TEACHER: Victoria Evans
  • AGES OF PUPILS: 4-11
  • LAST INSPECTION: November 2010