COLCOT Primary School in Barry is a vibrant, happy, exciting, and welcoming school.

It was built in 1952 and consists of two main buildings. The larger building comprises of the nursery, reception and key stage 2 classes and the smaller building, known as Yr Ynys, is home to the Year 1 and Year 2 foundation phase pupils. The classrooms and learning areas have all recently been redecorated and refurbished to ensure the staff and pupils have attractive and stimulating spaces to work in.

Head teacher, Nia Cule said the school motto is a true reflection of the philosophy and ethos of the school - “Hand in hand we learn and achieve, nurturing excellence.”

She said: “It is important to all members of the school community that we are all committed to working together and having high expectations and aspirations for all our children. We all strive to ensure that our children receive the very best opportunities. Visitors to our school comment on the happy atmosphere and positive ethos that they feel when visiting, our children are polite and caring towards each other and staff provide exemplar role models.”

The last Estyn report in 2010 backed up the ethos saying it was a welcoming one that ensured pupils felt safe and secure.

It said: “Pupils are well behaved, happy and enjoy learning. Pupils develop effective social and life skills.”

Mrs Cule said: “We celebrate a different value every month and these form our core values – responsibility, cooperation, freedom, tolerance, peace and love, respect and humility simplicity, honesty, unity and happiness. There is a permanent reminder of these values on our playground in a striking colourful mosaic, created by our very talented pupils in conjunction with artist Kate Derbeyshire.

“One of the key features and a strength of our school is the effort we make to ensure that we offer a fully inclusive experience where all pupils are able to access every activity and opportunity. Many of our children do not have the opportunities of being regularly taken to places of interest. This means we have to provide more first-hand experiences, educational visits and visitors to the school.”

All school trips are subsidised and staff ensure the trips they offer providing experiences for the children that are new and exciting. They enhance their learning opportunities and also their life experiences.

“We also plan trips to incorporate and complement the classroom learning,” said Mrs Cule. “A trip to Legoland Windsor was planned to support the topic Scream Machine, and for many, it was the first and possibly the only time they would be visiting this resort. The trip was funded for the pupils enabling each and everyone the opportunity to go.

“We are proud of our success in engaging in school to school collaboration. We share our strengths, and support others by offering peer to peer working and model exemplar teaching. One area identified as a strength is the structure of our nursery and reception provision, providing independent learning opportunities for our youngest children, enabling these children to make informed choices about their learning. These children decide how they learn and what activities they engage in, some choosing to learn in a practical way and others in a more structured formal way. Improving pupil attendance has also been identified as excellent practice and the strategies we have in place have been disseminated with others and replicated successfully in other schools. As part of our commitment to ensuring the best quality teaching and learning for our children we enter any working relationship with an open mind and look for areas that we can improve and how best to do this. Any collaborative working is seen by all staff as a very positive experience where we learn from each other. We work collaboratively with local businesses – Tesco, Asda, Dow Corning and Hexion. We also work closely with both Comprehensive Schools and our cluster primary schools and local churches.”

But she said one of the most important partnerships the school has is with the families.

She said: “It is essential to us that we get this right and there are many opportunities for constructive engagement. Taking time to talk to parents and carers and making everyone feel valued is key to our success in this area.

“We celebrate learning and sharing experiences with our families in our family sessions. Parents and carers are invited in to share a morning or afternoon with their children. The activities planned are creative and varied and encourage adult participation. Den-making, a game of rounders, building and designing a rollercoaster, hunting for bugs and clay modelling, are some of the activities planned and designed to be engaging and fun. The format of these sessions is very simple and it works with over 70 per cent of families attending, and most important they enjoy the sessions and ask for more.”

There are also opportunities for pupils to lead their learning and help make decisions about the school. There are four school councils with pupils from Year 2 to Year 6 representing their classmates. These councils meet monthly and formulate and action plan for the year and they are led by staff members. The councils also work alongside the local community. The ECO committee worked with designing local gardens and allotments and also take part in a local litter pick each year.

Extra-curricular activities have seen Year 5 and Year 6 pupils visit Gwersyll Yr Urdd Llangrannog, Abernant outdoor pursuits centre and Stackpole National trust centre. The Year 4 pupils also have a taste of a night away with school friends at the Urdd centre in Cardiff Bay. There are after school clubs that run weekly and they range from football, netball, dance and stitch club. The children thoroughly enjoy these clubs and Mrs Cule said she was grateful to the staff for giving their time at the end of a busy day.

She added: “Colcot Primary’s success is firmly rooted in the excellent teaching and learning – the daily basics are done very, very well. Each child arrives at school with an appetite for learning which is nurtured and encouraged by all members of staff. The doors are open early so that children can start the school day on time and we can provide learning opportunities as soon as they are ready. Think activities warm up their brains as they try and solve conundrums and find repeating patterns. Underpinning all of this are the teachers and support staff who consistently strive to deliver lessons in the most effective and creative way. Generating activities to engage boys in their learning has been a major focus of the school curriculum and has led to scooter races on the playground to support the understanding of time. Jousting battles have reinforced topic work and trebuchets firing boulders have demonstrated how materials and forces work.”

SCHOOL MOTTO: Hand in hand we learn and achieve, nurturing excellence (Tyfu a dysgu gyda’n gilydd)




AGE OF PUPILS: Three to 11-years-old

LAST INSPECTION: October 2010, Good and Good