NESTLED on a steep hillside next to the River Wye is Llandogo Primary, the smallest school in Monmouthshire.

But this beloved school punches well above it's weight thanks to a dedicated team of staff, passionate parents, amazing outdoor facilities and popular head teacher Katie Pingree.

Ms Pingree took up her post in 2013, and was a Bristol-based deputy-head before then.

She explained it was the school's special atmosphere that brought her across the River Severn.

"As soon as you walked through the door, it hits you.

"I can’t see myself going anywhere else anytime soon. I absolutely love it here. When I walk through the doors I absolutely know I’m going to have a good day.

"The children are amazing, and my staff work so hard. They truly care and are dedicated every day. We face the same pressures as a big school, but we have to work even harder to deliver the same standards and more."

Boasting just 66 pupils, four teacher and a teaching assistant, Llandogo Primary has an enviable adult to child ratio of 1/13. The school is also proud of its staff retention rate, with most staying for around six years.

"Our children predominantly come from Llandogo and Tintern, but we do get pupils from across the border in St Briavels and Brockweir, and even Chepstow and further afield," said Ms Pingree.

"People come for the outstanding provision we provide. They want ‘welly Wednesdays’, and the forest school, as well as all the other outdoor stuff we do.

"We aim to talk, not chalk. Every day, all year round, the children are outside. They put their wellies on an waterproof clothing and then then go. They have access to every outdoor area throughout break times and lunchtime too.

"The school is a very big part of the community too. A lot of the parents have been here themselves as children, so they really care about the school. They remember it as their own.

"We do have a lot of families who are moving back to the area with the bridge tolls going. We’re not at capacity, which is a good thing.

"The children here are very lucky. We can take them to paint Tintern Abbey, or walk through the woods. They don’t have to imagine it, we can actually go and they can experience it.

"Because we’re a small community school, we’ve got a good pastoral network for our children. But we’ve got just as much support for parents too. The table in my office was brought in by me for the parents to be able to come in and have a cup of coffee, because sometimes in a small and spread out community that’s what they need.

"The relationships we’ve built with the parents are really positive and they are all really supportive of the school.

"I honestly can’t remember the last time I had to tell a child off in school."

The school is supported by the Friends of Llandogo School (FOLS), who focus on fundraising for the primary. The small team of parents has mastered the art of securing grants and match funding to imp[rove the school and its grounds.

"They’ve just secured an Aviva grant for us to fund a new jungle gym and a new pond platform," said Ms Pingree.

"We’re also going to build an outside wooden stage over Christmas break.

"FOLS raise so much money for us , through grant applications and match funding. We used a previous grant to pay for a green screen, which the children have used for weather forecasts and a Welsh soap opera, amongst other things."

The focus at Llandogo, explained Ms Pingree, is to teach to ability, rather than to age.

They're able to provide bespoke teaching that matches a child's learning level thanks to small class sizes and dedicated teachers.

"Just because a child is in year five they don’t necessarily learn at that level.

"Because of our small classroom size we can cater to individual needs with bespoke teaching. "Because we’re small, I know my children and I know their needs.

"But we're competitive too. Our results in terms of percentages don’t always reflect our performance, but that’s because of our small size and number of children.

"But the numbers of children achieving end of foundation stage results and key stage two results is in line with, and sometimes above, the Monmouthshire average.

"Sometimes, for example, our results aren’t published because there are less than 10 children in the class, which can throw up identification issues.

"Year two are a separate year, but all the other years are merged with two age groups to a class.

We tend to teach together, then we might split into different ability groups for afternoon sessions. "There might be mixed ages in these groups, because they are based on ability.

"One size doesn’t fit all."