THIS week's School of the Week is Bryn Primary School, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood.

Name of headteacher

Jodi Khan. She has been in the role for three years.

Number of pupils

164 pupils from ages three to 11

Number of staff

Seven teachers, one HLTA, six teaching assistants, one clerk and one caretaker

Tell us a bit about the school

The school was officially opened in 1973, and is set in very pleasant surroundings.

It is built around a central courtyard and has two learning wings, administration area and school hall with a canteen.

The building is surrounded by grassed areas with mature trees and shrubs, there is a large playing field, and separate infant and junior playgrounds.

There is a separate building housing our nursery and a large fenced nursery garden area.

We also have a school allotment, enclosed wildlife pond, bird feeding stations, log circles, gazebo and wildflower area.

The school occupies three separate buildings. The main building houses two large Foundation Phase (Infant) classrooms, four Key Stage 2 (Junior) classrooms, the school library, Digi-Tech Suite, offices, school hall and canteen; One demountable classroom houses Flying Start Community Centre.

Children who attend Bryn Primary are within the catchment area for Islwyn High School currently based on the Pontllanfraith campus. 'Aspire. Believe. Challenge. Anelu. Credo. Herio.' captures the essential core values of our school.

South Wales Argus: A glimpse of our sports day fun!

Bryn Primary School is at the heart of the community where children are provided with experiences which lay the foundations for lifelong learning within a caring and happy environment.

We fully believe in skilling our children so they become ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives, enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work, ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world and healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

In order to achieve this vision we aim to be: 'Creative, Consistent, Collaborative!'


How did the school rate on its last Estyn report?

We are proud of our last Estyn Report in 2012 and are anticipating another inspection soon. We are excited to share our practice with ESTYN in an impending visit.

Here are are last results in 2013.

The current performance at Bryn Primary School is good because:

  • many pupils achieve high standards;
  • nearly all pupils make good progress;
  • the curriculum is wide and interesting;
  • pupils behave well and work hard;
  • teaching and assessment for learning are consistently good;
  • and pupils with additional learning needs receive good support.

The prospects for improvement at Bryn Primary School are good because:

  • the headteacher provides a strong and purposeful lead;
  • all staff share a common commitment to further improvement;
  • the school's assessment procedures are well used;
  • and the school's self-evaluation is accurate and well constructed.

Bryn Primary's future planning for improvement provides many strengths and no important areas requiring significant improvement

What sorts of things do your pupils get up to in the average school week?

There is no such thing as an average week at Bryn Primary School.

We place great emphasis on pupil voice, pupils play an active part in planning for their learning.

Pupils have the opportunity to learn about topics which interest and engage them with relevant and authentic experiences - for example focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on our environment pollution and the changing climates and the history of the NHS over the lockdown period.

Nursery pupils are immersed in The Curiosity approach to learning, thriving in an environment that promotes real-life experiences and participating regularly in purposeful learning outdoors promoting skills across all areas of the curriculum.

Pupils enjoy a daily 'Time to Talk' and participate in the 'Daily Mile', promoting healthy body, healthy mind.

Emotional literacy resources are readily available and inform planning, supporting pupil well-being particularly after the challenging year we have faced.

Rocksteady Music Group runs weekly pupils have the opportunity to learn to play the guitar, drums, keyboards and vocals as part of a class band, preparing for performances to peers and parents

Tell us about your extra curricular activities?

You will find an extensive list of clubs (pre-covid) because we believe that extra-curricular activities boost young people's confidence to interact socially with others; extend their social networks; and provide them with new skills and abilities.

Above all, they offer an important space to have fun and relax away from the pressures of school work.

We believe that the skills learned can enrich children's lives.

Here is the extensive list of clubs that Bryn Primary have offered previously: football, netball, Latin dance, art, sewing, rugby, play sports, maths, cooking, animation, film, running club, Zumba, British Sign Language, and many more.

Any famous former pupils?

Caitlyn Mapps, former pupil, is now on the Women's Welsh Athletic team.

Former pupil Lexi Walton and her brother (current pupil) have previously been in the Argus for their achievements in MMA Fighting.

Former pupil Lauren Williams has made the Tokyo 2020 Olympics team.

Do you have a PTA?

Our PTA provides parents and teachers with the opportunity to exchange views, work together and develop mutual trust and confidence.

It links families to important school and community information and hosts fun activities and events including disco, summer fetes, breakfast with Santa and various fundraising evenings.

Our PTA raises money to support the specific needs of our school by working alongside the headmistress, teachers, children and parents.

What's the highlight of the school year for you - and for the pupils?

Our proudest achievements this school year has been our participation in the Cynefin Project. Under change to the New Curriculum in Wales the learning of BAME will be mandatory.

Bryn Primary School has been working on our sustainable creative model by liaising with the Arts Council Wales on a project to encompass the positive impact of the Black, Asian and ethnic minorities, past and present in Wales.

We work passionately to teach children all about identity and diversity and sought out this Art Council project to enrich the curriculum of our children.

During the project, we looked at our immediate local history of The Bryn, Pontllanfriath.

We discovered that a local manor, Penllwyn Manor, has strong connections with the infamous Morgan family.

Through pupil centered participation and planning, we embarked on a journey that would lead us to the development of our new curriculum.

We were able to meet influential and talented people, including authors and a sculptor.

We worked alongside artists, dancers and other local businesses to enhance the experience of learning and raise the awareness of the positive impact of the BAME community in Welsh history.

South Wales Argus: Bryn Primary School, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood

The project had a positive ripple effect on our learners, school and community. The result and outcomes have influenced the design process for our new school curriculum.

Who is your chairman of governors and how does the board of governors get involved with the school?

Debra Gronow. Our governing body plays a crucial role in developing our school to its full potential.

Our governors are responsible for overseeing the management side of a school: strategy, policy, budgeting and staffing. They enable our school to run as effectively as possible.

The governing body is the golden thread of our school supporting strategic leadership and on our journey towards the new curriculum.

What does the future hold for your school?

We are on an exciting journey towards a 'successful future' designing our new curriculum. Our curriculum will ignite a passion for the arts, promote metacognition and growth mindset and instil a love for learning.

South Wales Argus: Bryn Primary School, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood

How was it during the pandemic?

All staff at Bryn primary school are Google educated level 1 and because of this the school was able to smoothly transition to blended learning in the first week of lockdown.

We delivered tailored emotional well-being sessions to identify pupils, planned weekly engagement activities offering opportunity to develop skills linked to health and well-being and well-being catch up calls.

We also planned friendship virtual channels to families supporting pupils' mental health through the lockdown period. Parent feedback was positive.

Pupils were encouraged to "unplug and unwind'', taking time away from the screen to spend time outdoors.

Community engagement projects such as Bryn rainbows, blue hearts, handfuls of hope and Bryn primary rocks, instilled a sense of togetherness and community spirit.

We continued to celebrate whole school awareness days such as healthy eating week, autism awareness and mental health awareness week.

On the pupil's return to school, Bryn Primary School stepped away from yellow tape and strict signage and formal settings and instead promoted colourful rainbows creating a welcoming atmosphere.

South Wales Argus: Bryn Primary School, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood

Anything else you think we should know?

The school has achieved the bronze award for Cymraeg Campus and is currently working towards the silver award.

his award is achieved by a school for its hard work and dedication in promoting the Welsh language and Welsh ethos linking to the aims of our Cynefin whole school approach to learning in the autumn term.

We have been awarded with Eco School Platinum status after achieving an Eco Award Green Flag four times, demonstrating our long-term commitment to environmental education, pupil involvement and sustainability.

Platinum schools are ranked amongst the best in the world on the Eco-Schools programme. We are very proud of this award.

We are pproud to be a Lead Creative School, successfully securing bids and working alongside the Arts Council in tailored projects over the last seven years.