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Welsh School So Good School Inspectors Turn it in to Case Study

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A Neath Port Talbot school where a high percentage of pupils qualify for free school meals and many have additional learning needs has received a glowing report from Welsh education inspectors Estyn.

In fact the inspectors were so impressed with the 454-pupil Tywyn Primary School in Channel View, Sandfields, Port Talbot, they have invited staff to prepare a case study on their work in developing pupils’ oral and performance skills which will be shown on Estyn’s website.

The average proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals over the last three years at Tywyn is 29% – well above the average for Wales of 19%. The school also identifies 40% of pupils as having additional learning needs – much higher than the national average of 21%.

Despite the difficulties however, an inspection of the school in June this year resulted in these ratings:

  • Standards – Good
  • Health & Well-Being – Excellent
  • Teaching & Learning Experiences – Good
  • Care, Support & Guidance – Excellent
  • Leadership & Management – Good

The inspection report said:

“Leaders and staff ensure an exceptionally caring, inclusive and nurturing learning environment for pupils. They provide many rich learning experiences that support pupils’ all-round development successfully.

“They develop strong literacy skills, which they apply effectively in their work across the curriculum and they often achieve very high standards in sports and the expressive arts.

“Irrespective of their needs and abilities, pupils in Tywyn Primary School, including those in the learning resource classes, believe there are no barriers to learning and achievement. They are very proud of their school and display exemplary behaviour and attitudes towards learning.”

The report praised the effectiveness of the school head, deputy head and senior management team, saying:

“The Headteacher provides effective leadership…and the whole school community works closely as a team to ensure an extremely caring ethos for the benefit of all pupils.”

“There is a high level of mutual trust and respect among leaders, staff, governors and parents. The Deputy Headteacher and other members of the senior leadership team support the Headteacher effectively.”

Pupils at the school are encouraged to examine global issues, its eco and healthy schools committee recently having worked with the Marine Conservation Society to carry out a litter pick on Aberavon beach, collecting more than 700 pieces of plastic

The report added:

“Nearly all pupils are developing very well as ethical, informed citizens. The school is an inclusive community, which values, respects and nurtures all of its diverse members very successfully.”

The school has 14 single-year classes and one mixed-year class.

In addition, there are six learning resource classes, providing education for 48 pupils from across Neath Port Talbot. This provision caters for pupils with moderate to severe learning needs and pupils with profound and multiple learning needs.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Peter Rees said:

“Our aim as a council is to provide all of our children – across the whole county borough – with the best possible start in life we can give them.

“This inspection shows that is the case here and Tywyn is clearly setting an example Estyn wants to show to the rest of Wales. Well done to all the pupils and all the staff at this hard working school.”

Chair of governors at the school, Cllr Ted Latham said:

“I’d like to thank all the staff, pupils and parents for their contribution to what is an excellent report.”

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