THE Tredegar Valley is famous for its rich history, as well as its picturesque views of the mountainous landscape which can be seen for miles.

Another fame is its local school, St Joseph’s RC Primary School.

Nestled away in Ashvale, the school plays a prominent role, not just in the local vicinity, but across the globe.

Head teacher John McMorrow, who has been the head teacher for five years, said: “I have always believed it is important for our school to maintain and improve links with the community.

“The school has close links to Woffington Care Home and a group of pupils visit fortnightly to join in various activities with the residents. These range from singing with them to planting and sharing their digital knowledge with them. It is a very fun experience.

“We also have links across the globe. We have a group of pupils who are on our Mini-Vinnie Committee. They think of various ways to fundraise for the rest of the school. Recently they had a talk from Professor Jon James who has co-founded an orphanage in southern India. After being moved by his talk and seeing photographs, the pupils are now planning to raise sufficient funds to sponsor a child through their education in the Premenanda Orphanage.”

The head teacher added that ensuring pupils succeed and enjoy themselves at the site are two of his biggest aims.

He said: “We want our pupils to become successful and we do everything we can to achieve this.

“A few changes have been introduced to make lessons better and much more fun.

“Due to logistical and financial constraints we have been unable to take our pupils to far-flung destinations. But with the purchase of 16 VR headsets we can now go anywhere. Our pupils are able to experience life in World War trenches, interact with dinosaurs, enter volcanoes or swim underwater at the Great Barrier Reef without moving out of the classroom. This technology allows us to immerse our pupils and stimulate their inquisitive minds. It has enhanced their writing by allowing them to empathise with a subject and become ambitious, creative learners.

“We achieve great things and will continue to do so.”


One of the reasons for the school’s many successes is that it follows Roman Catholic ethos, said the head teacher.

“We instil our pupils with this,” he said.

“Our motto is: ‘With Christ at the centre: Inspire, believe and so achieve.’

“Our motto lays the foundation for everything that we do. I believe it has helped us achieve great things.

“We are proud of being a Roman Catholic school.”

Mr McMorrow added that the school had recently been fortunate to receive a grant from the Welsh Government which had allowed it to “enhance areas of school life”.

“The grant has allowed us to invest into our children’s futures,” he said.

“We now have an outdoor classroom and new equipment to enhance our foundation phase provision for some of our youngest learners.

“It also allowed us to purchase a minibus for the school so that we can now offer experiences for our pupils by taking them on visits throughout South Wales.

“Blaenau Gwent County Council was instrumental on facilitating the grant on our behalf. We thank them for that.”