THIS week's School of the Week is Goytre Fawr Primary School.

Name of headteacher

Mike Gough, since May 2019

Number of pupils and what age range

175 from five to 11.

Number of staff

Twenty education staff. Nine teachers (including head), one HLTA and nine TAs.

Tell us a bit about the school

We are a thriving, caring Reception to Year 6 English medium primary school, serving the village community of Goytre/Penperlleni.

We have a school mission statement of Aspire, Believe, Achieve which are framed by our underlying values of kindness, respect, independence, community, aspiration and confidence.

The school has been on this site since 1974, with the junior side added in 1984. Prior to this, the school was based in an older building opposite the present site, which now houses the excellent GASC facility which compliments us in their pre and post school childcare provision.

We have generous grounds which include a forest schools area and are working to develop our outside learning.

To this end, in the last two years we have built an outside classroom (The Lodge-a bespoke STEM and Eco facility) and added two new canopies to Foundation Phase so that all our learners have access to their continuous and enhanced provision in a sheltered, outside space.

The staff here go the extra mile for our children, stating with the amazing Mrs Zammitt in our office and running through out teaching and catering and cleaning staff - we are a real team.

The local community is also very supportive and our FROGs (PTA) has been integral in helping us to provide better equipment in many levels for our children.

The governing body is strong and supportive and we are lucky enough to be in a healthy position in terms of results and facilities.

We have focussed heavily on wellbeing in recent years, especially since returning from pandemic lockdowns, and now host a therapy dog and a play therapist weekly. We have also developed our Snug and Cwtch to help pupils to have comfortable spaces to feel safe and nurtured in.

Goytre is a friendly, forward-thinking school with a supportive community, where we are working hard to prepare our children for Curriculum for Wales through our "Vehicles" approaches to the curriculum and a big emphasis on pupil involvement and fun.


If relevant, what are your exam results like and what percentage of pupils go on to university?

We had our best Year 6 results since 2016 last year.

We visited Oxford University in 2019/20 but haven't been able to go back since due to Covid restrictions.

That initiative will be explored with our Year 6 this year.

Free Press Series: Carrots we have grown in our Foundation Phase garden.

Carrots grown in the school's Foundation Phase garden

How did the school rate on its last Estyn report and what did you think about that?

Four Goods, which reflected where we were in May 2019.

We have moved forward since then.

Our last colour categorisation saw yellow in autumn 2019.

What sorts of things do your pupils get up to in the average school week?

Core subjects plus Vehicles work that leads to a cross-curricular ten-week block, this term focussing on expressive arts. For example, year two have been animating, year four have learnt the Charleston, year three built and programmed Lego robots, year five have made large scale puppets while year six have learned Bhangra dance.

Free Press Series: Jazz dancing with Upbeat Wales.

Jazz dancing with Upbeat Wales

Tell us about your extra curricular activities?

We have offered many clubs in the past but now are only just re-starting them as we cautiously move out of past Covid restrictions.

Any famous former pupils?

Tim Lebbon (author) lives in the village and visited as part of our studies last year.

Do you have a PTA?

FROGs raised more than £4,000 in autumn last year with their grow a pound scheme. They are a fantastic support and have made huge contributions to the lives of our children.

Free Press Series: Y4 Dancing the Charleston.

Year four dancing the Charleston

What's the highlight of the school year for you - and for the pupils?

We had a Goytre Olympics last year which was largely performed and designed by the children and which was a hugely successful event replacing our Covid affected sports days.

We were also one of only a very few schools who managed to take our Year 6 on an outdoor pursuits course last summer, which was privately organised and was hugely well received.

Who is your chairman of governors and how does the board of governors get involved with the school?

Janet Robins is our new chairwoman of governors and she has been a stalwart of the community and our governing body for years.

She has only just started her tenure after replacing Kathryn Edwards who devoted 10 years to that role and took the school through many challenges and celebrations.

Free Press Series: STEM work in Y3

STEM work in year three

What does the future hold for your school?

An exciting approach to learning as we look to the new Curriculum for Wales.

We are going to build on our vehicle approaches, maintain high standards in core subjects, develop our learner curiosity and autonomy and build wellbeing into the core of what we do.

We also will continue to prioritise ICT as we have made huge strides in the last two-and-a-half years with our use of technology to support learning (eg drone/STEM kit car built/uplift of tech devices/teaching tools).

Free Press Series: Headteacher, Mike Gough.

Headteacher Mike Gough

How was it during the pandemic?

Tough. We developed our blended learning approaches and the community supported us magnificently.

We had 92 per cent engagement rates and our focus on technology came in to its own.

But the impact upon learner wellbeing was pronounced in some cases and we are still rebuilding that resilience and confidence in our children who really did suffer, as they did in all ages across Wales.