CADOXTON Primary School in Victoria Park Road, Barry, is a community hub joined in many aspects – including ideas, and activities – to name two, but also the buildings itself.

There are different parts to the school that have joined over the years. These are the infant building – amalgamated 2004; the junior building (1887), the nursery – amalgamated in September 2016; and the sports hall used by the community during evenings. Now the hall is a real part of the school during the day. The community centre is where parents go in to learn skills, and the ‘Junk Food Cafe’ operates. This café is where products close to being binned by supermarkets are donated and are turned into healthy meals.

Head teacher Janet Hayward said the school had community at its heart. “Our mission is to create a safe, exciting and happy haven of learning in the heart of the Cadoxton community,” she said. “We will listen and act to ensure that everyone is given all of the support, respect and opportunities they need to learn, grow and achieve their best. By working in this way with children and parents, we have a flourishing school community working together to keep learning and achieving our best. We provide weekly drop in sessions to allow time to meet other parents and support each other. We also provide short courses to help our parents build on their strengths and develop new skills. Every Friday our children run a Junk Food Café where they prepare and cook food for their parents and the community.”

The school works with other schools and Mrs Hayward is the secretary of the Barry head teacher cluster. The children feed into Pencoedtre High school and working together the cluster is improving the transition experience for children into Year 7.

Mrs Hayward said: “We also work in partnership with Romilly Primary as a pioneer school for the new curriculum as well as being a digital pioneer school. We work with the Central South Education Consortium as a Foundation Phase Alliance School and a digital hub, working with and supporting other schools across the five local authorities.”

Mrs Hayward is one of the first 12 head teachers in Wales to be an associate member of the National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL) which helps shape the future of school leadership.

She said: “We are so lucky to work alongside many professionals. All children from Year 2 to Year 6 have the opportunity to sign up to an enrichment club. Our staff offer an enriching activity that they enjoy doing every Thursday afternoon and our children get to choose what activity they would like to participate in. From dance to cartoon drawing, woodworking to sewing, there is endless variety. The clubs change half termly so that children develop a vast range of skills, knowledge and experiences. We are very lucky to have (Dow employee and former pupil) Sean Murphy as our chairman of governors. Dow have supported us with a number of projects over the years. Our next exciting one is developing an adjacent piece of land into a forest schools classroom/ allotment.”

Extra-curricular clubs include homework, dance, film, coding, gardening, mindfulness, tennis and rugby.

“Our school is a special place for children to come and learn each day,” she said. “We value every child, and not only want them to receive an excellent education but also to feel happy and safe. We encourage our children to take pride and ownership of their own learning, providing opportunities for them to follow their own personal lines of inquiry. Within all aspect of learning, links are made to real life authentic experiences, providing our children to make meaningful links with the real world.

“We want our children to receive excellent education but also to develop dispositions that will help them in life after education. We support them to develop their personal and social skills, making them feel happy, safe and able to achieve anything. The importance of developing physical health and wellbeing is paramount,” she said.

“Every morning our children have the opportunity to participate in an active start session where they have the opportunity to participate in physical and mental wellbeing activities, such as run a mile, yoga, mindfulness and dance. This initiative has contributed to improved wellbeing levels, therefore learners feeling they are more ready to learn.

“Our school seeks to provide memorable opportunities for our children, creating fun, happy memories that will stay with them forever. Children are encouraged to achieve their potential through challenging, exciting and innovative opportunities, enabling them to acquire skills to become lifelong learners.

“Our action groups are at the centre of all the decisions made. These groups are led by a teacher, a chair and vice chair who help to ensure the ideas and voices of the children ensure at Cadoxton Primary School is always the best it can be. The vision of the actions groups is around making a difference and initiating change.

“It is important we provide opportunities for our children to lead their own learning developing into ambitious, capable learners. We provide numerous opportunities for our children to develop life skills such as cooking, woodwork and gardening. We are an eco-school, rights of the child respecting school, healthy schools and Sustrans bronze award-winning school - exemplifying our motto of working and learning together being our best forever.”

Mrs Hayward said: “We aim to nurture a love of learning, to equip every child with the tools they need to succeed in life. Cadoxton Primary School is a special place for children to come and learn something new each day. We are very proud of our pupils and all that they achieve during their time with us.”