TUCKED away inside the small village of Penperlleni, Goytre Fawr Primary school is a school with a distinctive approach to teaching.

For one, it is clear from the outset that the children are very much a part of developing the school both internally and within the community.

According to headteacher Nicola Sutherland, on open days it is the children who lead the tours for prospective pupils and parents.

Upon hearing this, you can’t help but feel that the school’s motto of ‘Walk Tall, Think Big, Grow Together’ is very much alive.

“We take our motto very seriously, we are always teaching our pupils to ‘think big’ and really stretch themselves to achieve anything,” said Mrs Sutherland.

Goytre Fawr Primary is also a school with distinct pedigree, having achieved a green rating from the school ratings system for a second successive year.

As well as being a Fairtrade School, they have achieved Phase 4 of the Healthy Schools Scheme and have their third Eco-Flag.

The school have also earned the Platinum Eco Schools award, which recognises the eco-friendliness of a school and is the highest rating that can be awarded.

In their last Estyn report in 2012, the school's current performance and prospects for improvement as good.

While taking a tour of the school, deputy head Lisa Wilkinson remarks: “I think one of the things that makes us unique is that we know all of our children personally.

“We ensure it’s a personal experience when you come here so we pride ourselves on knowing each child, what their strengths are and what they need to work on.”

Inside the classrooms, interactive whiteboards are interspersed with the student’s colourful creations – including a large and impressive papier-mache versions of a whale and a Chinese dragon.

Tadpoles, plant pots containing sprouting beans and a collage of a bus made completely out of tax discs are just a few examples of what else can be found inside the halls of Goytre Fawr.

The school also has its own radio station manned by Year 6 pupils, where their fellow schoolmates can put in requests to listen to at play-time.

Promoting such independence, and showing trust in the pupils in these tasks, Mrs Wilkinson believes is vital.

“The best lessons are when pupils say ‘we haven’t done anything today’ because they’re so involved in what they’re doing.

“When they’re active and actually doing these tasks they’re so engaged that they’re using skills without even thinking.”

Outside, the school’s sprawling grounds allow pupils to remain active throughout the day in a wonderfully scenic environment.

In fact, the pupils helped shape some of the playing equipment across the two separate playgrounds.

Using branches from a willow tree, students have created various baskets hanging from trees called ‘mini beast habitats”.

In a small area of woodland called the “Forest School”, sessions are held where students can interact with the environment and learn new life skills such as cooking outdoors and using tools.

It is in playground that the school’s strong community links are evident, with many of the apparatus having been donated by local groups such as the school’s version of a PTA, Friends and Relations of Goytre School (FROGS), Goytre Community Council and local social clubs.

However the interaction is not strictly one-way as the pupils are always keen to give back.

“This school is really a part of the community and the village as a whole,” said Mrs Wilkinson.

“Some of our Year 5 pupils played a big part in going down and help maintaining the new community garden in the village.

“We really try to involve the community in everything we do.”

A daily fruit sale is run by Year 6 pupils for fellow classmates and staff while a weekly ‘Food Co-op’, also maintained by pupils, provides parents a bag of vegetables, fruit or salad every week.

To inspire the students, Arctic explorers, athletes and the area’s local author Tim Libbon are among a long list of speakers that the school have brought in to give talks to the students.

The school also put on a Festival of Faiths, where representatives from five different religions gave talks about their respective faiths and pupils engaged in various workshops.

Last year Goytre Fawr established ties with Tuvshinshiree School in Mongolia, and evidence this blossoming relationship can be seen throughout the school.

Pictures of pupils dressed in Mongolian traditional dress and masks adorn the walls of Year 3 teacher Emma Rust-Andrews’ classroom.

A pen pal network between the two schools has also been established, with several pupils noticeably excited about receiving their next letter.

Such boundless enthusiasm to explore and embrace new cultures is something that is shared by both staff and students.

Goytre Fawr have also maintained their links with the Kiraro Primary School in Kenya, in a continuation of their joint-project which has been running since 2009.

Since then the school has hosted five teachers from the school while also sending four of their own staff over to Kenya.

According to Mrs Sutherland some of the Kenyan teachers who visited South Wales had never met someone from outside their own country.

Alongside head Mrs Sutherland, Mrs Rust-Thomas has also made two trips overseas in 2011 and 2014.

“We discovered that there are more similarities between us than differences,” admitted Mrs Rust-Thomas.

“It dispelled so many preconceptions that the children had about them, that they all lived in mud huts but they had our own preconceptions about us thinking we were all a bit snooty and rich!

“It was absolutely amazing and I think about my trips all the time.”

A small tree commemorates the two school’s friendship, its flowers – like the pupils – continuing to bloom.