YSGOL Gymraeg Gwaun y Nant is situated in Gibbonsdown, Barry, and has a wide catchment area including Wenvoe, Pencoetre, Cadoxton and Palmerston.

Established on its current site in 2001, it has grown from strength to strength and now has more than 250 pupils and a school at the heart of its community.

But head teacher, Rhydian Lloyd still thinks that there’s work to be done.

He said: “As we are hidden in the heart of the community in Gibbonsdown people don’t pass us on a bus route or see us from a main road so it’s easy for people to forget about us.

“We have a very good reputation, received a very good Estyn inspection and have been categorised as a ‘green’ school for a number of years.

“I would encourage all parents in our catchment area to come and visit before deciding on a school for their children.”

The school was subject to a major refurbishment due to the increased demand for Welsh Medium Education in the area, a few years ago, and it now boasts a wonderful learning environment which is spacious and inspiring for the pupils.

Mr Lloyd said: “We are also blessed with a large playing area and field.

“Visitors are always surprised with how much land we have.

“We take full advantage of this allowing our pupils to access all areas providing the weather isn’t too wet.

“Added to this is an exciting new wildlife area which has been designed in collaboration with Oak Field Primary School, Keep Wales Tidy, local community groups and the Local Authority.

“The area offers an exciting outdoor learning area for our pupils and includes a large pond, raised beds, wooden shelter and fire pit.

“While this area will be used predominantly by pupils we will be offering the area to local groups such as the Scouts outside of school hours.

“By having so much space we have been able to accommodate a Welsh Medium pre-school play group in the school.

“The group, which has close links with our nursery class, offer a wrap- around service.

“This has proved very popular with some of our working parents.

“Children are dropped off in the morning and are cared for all day without having to leave the premises.

“I’m sure that many of them will be taking advantage of the 30-hour free child care offer.

“This partnership is very successful because children can familiarise themselves with the school environment before they begin in our nursery when they are three years old.

“We also offer a Breakfast Club which opens at 7.30am.

“We regularly have over 60 pupils attending.

“We also offer after school clubs.”

Although officially a Welsh Medium School Gwaun y Nant would much rather be considered a bi-lingual school.

All pupils are fully fluent in both Welsh and English by the time they leave - something the school is very proud of.

“Our pupils leave us completely bilingual and have a respect towards the language and a pride in their country and heritage,” Mr Lloyd said.

“Almost all our pupils begin school with only one language- English.

“Fast forward a few years and all of our pupils are fully fluent in both English and Welsh.

“With over 98 per cent of our pupils coming from English speaking homes we know that many parents are taking a leap of faith sending their children to a Welsh medium school.

“We understand this and it is our aim to involve all parents in their children’s education.

Many people tend to think children who are in a Welsh Medium school are only taught through the medium of Welsh.

“This in fact is not true.

“By the time pupils are in the Junior section lessons are conducted through the medium of Welsh and English.

“English is a core subject here just as it is in English Medium schools.

“We are very proud of the ethos that we have created in our school.

“Visitors have always told us that there is a very special ‘feeling’ to the school.

“I believe that this is created through the exceptionally strong emphasis we have on equality, diversity and respect.

“We have a set of core values which we explore each month providing our pupils with sound building blocks to become conscientious and caring individuals.

“Our older pupils are given additional responsibilities as playground buddies and peer mediators during playtime.

“They enjoy this responsibility and add to the caring ethos of the school

“This element was also picked up during our last Estyn inspection.

“Inspectors commented that there is a “caring working relationship between adults and pupils and that the school is a caring community in which a high priority is given to pupils’ wellbeing”

“Estyn also reported that “pupils are exceptionally well behaved during lessons and informal situations.

“They are welcoming, polite and treat each other, staff and visitors with genuine respect.”

The school works with a variety of partners including Dow Corning, Barry Green Fingers, The Welsh FA the NSPCC, FACT and more recently Therapy Dogs Nationwide who will form part of the school’s wellbeing provision.

Mr Lloyd said: “We have a very industrious and committed PTA who are always looking at new ways of raising funds for the school.

“They organise discos, family fun nights along with very successful summer and Christmas Fair.

Events include a family bingo night, an Easter Egg Hunt and also a car boot sale.

The PTA contributes to resources and school trips to keep the prices as low as possible for families.”

He added: “An annual popular event in school is the school Eisteddfod.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our pupil to showcase their performing talents in front of the school. “The highlight of the day is the chairing of the bard ceremony. Nobody knows the identity of the winner until it is announced from the stage. The look of anticipation on the pupils’ face is priceless. Our school choir is also very busy- especially at Christmas time. We sang in almost every supermarket in Barry last Christmas and already have taken bookings for next year.

“We always welcome and encourage prospective parents to visit our school so that they can see for themselves that we are a happy, vibrant and caring school.”


Fact File

Chairman or chairwoman of governors: Brenig Davies

Head teacher- Rhydian Lloyd

Number of pupils: 250

Age three-11

Last Inspection- 2016 (Good in all areas)

School Categorisation: Green