Greenmeadow Primary School is a happy, caring, safe school which has made huge progress in helping pupils inspire, achieve, dream and succeed. LEAH POWELL found out more about this school and how it engages with the community

NESTLED on the outskirts of Cwmbran, Greenmeadow Primary School has come on leaps and bounds since their last Estyn inspection.

The school, on Graig Road, has just under 180 pupils attending, and was last inspected in October 2017. Although described as a “happy and caring community,” it was rated as ‘adequate’ with improvements needed.

Following the hard work of Claire Moses, who has been head teacher since April 2017, and deputy head Nicky Pegington, a clear strategic vision is in place.

Ms Moses explained: “We’ve worked hard at improving the learning environment and have changed from a bright, busy school to one with calm, neutral displays and soft lighting.

“This provides pupils with a nurturing environment, which has impacted positively on learning behaviour and wellbeing.

“The school has improved, making great progress, which is down to the hard work and passion of all the staff.”

Greenmeadow Primary School has made huge progress in engaging more, not just with pupils and families, but with the community.

Twice a term the school hosts a breakfast club, Family Breakfast, in which parents join staff and pupils for beans on toast and a cuppa at 8am.

“Family Breakfast is a success,” said Ms Moses.

“We always include a themed activity, so that there’s something to do as well. For example, at Christmas we’ll have Christmas colouring, or at Easter we’ll make Easter bunnies.

“We’ve worked really hard with parental engagement, and they love the Family Breakfast.”

Greenmeadow Primary School also engages with the pupils, celebrating their achievements, both in and out of school.

“Parents can attend our celebratory assemblies, during which we share pupils’ talent in different fields, such as music and sport,” added Ms Moses.

“It’s nice to celebrate children’s talent, not just academic. Some children might not be so good at maths or English, but might excel at music or sports.

“At our most recent assembly, one of the little boys brought in a certificate, following his piano recital, which we talked about.

“We’re celebrating things that are going well in other areas, including outside of school, and bringing it in.”

If parents can’t make the assemblies, it’s still possible to stay in the loop, with the school using a Dojo app to keep families informed.

“Dojo is a really successful app, which we use to share the school’s stories with parents,” explained Ms Moses.

“We’ve just had a celebratory assembly and all the winners are on the app, so parents can see that, and see what’s going on in the life of their children throughout the day.”

It is evident that the school acknowledges that all pupils are different, with varied skills and abilities, as the classrooms have headings and pupils can put themselves under what they’re good at, for example “body smart” or “music smart”.

This contributes to confidence and well-being, with a range of groups allowing children to explore their interests. There is a School Council, Eco Club, Welsh language group Criw Cymrag, and their IT team of digital leaders.

For musical children, the school pays Upbeat Music to come in for a weekly visit, where they work with children doing different activities, such as singing, African drumming, dancing, or playing instruments, giving pupils the opportunity to pursue goals aside from academic.

The pupils also get a huge say in how they learn, which ensures they stay interested in learning and education.

Ms Moses said: explained: “At the start of each context pupils get to have a say, meaning they are more engaged and enthusiastic.

“For example, this term we’re doing ‘if the world was a village’ so teachers will ask pupils what they want to learn and match this to the skills they need to acquire, in line with the new curriculum.

“We begin each context with a Sparkly Starter, so for this one we had everyone dress up and celebrate food from all over the world. That launches them in and hooks them into their learning, getting them excited about what they want to learn. Then at the end, they’ll do something special to end the context.”

The school also recently won a Dementia Friendly Award for working with residents of Ty Gwyn Nursing home. Twice a term, pupils will visit residents and take part in activities, such as the choir singing with them, or pupils bringing board games and iPads to play on.

It is clear that the school has already made huge strides, in a sport space of time.

“This is due to the commitment and hard work of staff, governors, parents, and the most important people in our school: children,” said Ms Moses.