Mrs Mackay reporting on our strand 2 work in the design of the new curriculum for Wales.
At present the children of Ystruth Primary School follow schemes and programmes of work which comply with the Foundation Phase and the National Curriculum. Children aged 3 to 7 follow the Foundation Phase and from 7 to 11 they follow the National Curriculum.
We are presently a Pioneer School. We have been selected by the Welsh Government to develop and trial the new curriculum which has been planned for all Welsh schools following the Successful Futures report by Professor Donaldson. 
A broad-based curriculum has been devised to provide all children with a wide range of experiences in order to stimulate their interest and imagination. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of reading, writing, listening, speaking and numeracy skills through well-defined programmes of work and activities.
Thematic work develops subject specific skills but is designed to develop the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills in line with the Literacy and Numeracy Framework. In addition and in line with the Successful Futures report we are developing what we provide in thematic work to include ‘rich tasks’ which incorporate a number of skills from different curriculum areas in the completion of a given task.
Is timetabled and taught discretely and in a thematic way where possible. In addition to this we teach RE and hold a daily act of worship. The school follows the S.A.C.R.E guidelines for collective worship. An act of collective worship takes place in school every day which is of a broadly Christian nature. Whole school assembly takes place on Monday and Friday. Separate Phase Assemblies take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from these assemblies and should inform the school in writing should they wish to do so. From time to time we invite local people to take an assembly.
Welsh and the Curriculum Cymraeg
We are proud to be a Welsh Primary School where Welsh is taught as a second language throughout the whole school and is used incidentally as part of the school day. Staff members attend courses on a regular basis to improve their Welsh. Use of the language is encouraged as widely as possible whenever and wherever appropriate. Children are encouraged to speak and follow instructions given in Welsh on a daily basis
Our Welsh heritage is brought out in our weekly assembly with a Welsh theme, St David’s day celebrations and in many parts of our school curriculum.
Sex and Relationship Education
The Welsh Assembly Government recommends that primary schools have a graduated programme of SRE tailored to the age and emotional maturity of the children. The school policy on sex education states that it should be incorporated naturally, as it arises within the National Curriculum. This decision was made by the governors at the school, and the policy is available for your inspection, as are all the school’s policy documents. Parents may view the policy and discuss the teaching materials used. Parents have the right to withdraw their children, should they so wish, from sex education.
Our school has excellent grounds and we have a large grass pitch and two hard courts. There is a wide range of sports activities undertaken during the year where children represent the school. These include swimming, rugby, football, cricket, netball, rounders, athletics and cross-country. Any child taking part represents the school and this is recognised as a privilege equal to academic and artistic achievement. It also fosters team spirit and the development of skills. We aim to give children of all abilities the opportunity to participate in competitive events.
We allocate on average 1.5 hours per week in the curriculum to Physical Education and there are a number of opportunities to participate in PE in after school clubs and during BEE Time Choices.
Pupils in Nursery and Reception take part in their school t-shirt and joggers or leggings. Sometimes they need daps and other times bare feet.
Each child requires trainers, shorts, T-shirt and a bag, all labelled with the child’s name. Sweatshirts or football/rugby tops and joggers may be worn for outdoor activities.
In the interests of health and safety the LA policy states that children ought to be barefooted when participating in gymnastics and creative dance.
Pupils need a towel and a swimming costume. Girls are required to wear a full suit [not a bikini] and boys may wear swimming trunks or shorts [not board-shorts]. No jewellery is to be worn and longer hair must be tied back.
We are committed to providing pupils with a range of creative opportunities. As a school we provide a wide variety of social and cultural activities. Other
pursuits include art, music (woodwind, percussion, brass, guitar and violin), drama, choir, outdoor education and working with computers. We arrange visits to theatres and other places of interest and performing groups also visit the school.
Additional Learning Needs [ALN]
Ystruth Primary School is an inclusive school. All children in the school with ALN have access to both the Foundation Phase Curriculum and the National Curriculum. Within every class there will be children with a wide range of abilities and staff prepare work to cater for the varying needs of these pupils.
The school works within the guidelines of the Code of Practice. We place a high emphasis on partnership between; parents, school and child. Children who have ALN are placed on our ALN register.
School Action highlights concerns about the progress children are making and this is monitored carefully. It may require a more specific approach and this is done through an Individual or Group Education Plan (IEP) which sets small targets to help overcome any difficulties the child may have in a particular area.
These IEPs are reviewed termly and parents are invited to school to discuss their child’s progress.
School Action Plus indicates that additional help may be required to ensure the child makes progress. This usually means that, in addition to the action the school is taking, additional advice is sought from an outside agency. The agencies are varied depending on the needs of the child. The agency then will provide the school with advice and support to accommodate the child’s needs. Progress is reviewed regularly and decisions are made on how to proceed.
If the child does not make sufficient progress and staff and parents are still concerned the school will refer the child to the Special Needs Panel to request a formal assessment to find out if the child has difficulties needing further additional or specialist support. Should it be necessary a statement of Special Educational Needs will be written for the child by the Local Authority [LA].
Ystruth Primary School Achieves Autism Friendly Status
At Ystruth Primary School we are committed to working in partnership with parents and pupils in providing the best possible education for all children. Every effort is made to support all children requiring provision. This includes very talented and able children as well, who may also require additional support.
The school is on multiple levels, however, should the need arise we would be able to accommodate pupils with disabilities as there is a lift and ramps available to move between the main parts of the building.
The Accessibility Plan seeks to deal with any such eventuality.
A copy of the ALN Policy is available on request at the office and on the school’s website.
More able and Talented Pupils
At Ystruth Primary School we recognise that we have more able and talented children. Individual children are encouraged to develop their attributes, skills and potential within a learning environment that embraces equality of opportunity and provision. Abilities and talents will emerge in a wide range of subjects and fields: it is important to develop the whole child. Schools and individuals can thrive in a culture of ambition and aspiration.
* More able children would demonstrate a higher ability than average for the class and would often require differentiated tasks and opportunities to learn through challenges;
* Most able children will be working at two levels above the majority of children in the class and would sometimes require additional and different provision. This would be supported by an Individual Education Plan (IEP);
* Talented children demonstrate an innate talent or skill in creative, cultural or sporting fields
The school collects information about pupils and their parents/carers on admission to the school and for specific purposes during the school year. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and security of the data collected, which is generally
stored on the school’s computerised management information system. Individuals have certain rights of access to personal information held on them.
If you wish to see your child’s record please make an appointment to see the Headteacher.
YSTRUTH PRIMARY IS A CURRICULUM PIONEER SCHOOL.
The Pioneer Schools have been drawn from across Wales and represent a range of different schools including rural and urban settings; English-medium and Welsh-medium; primary, secondary and special schools, schools with a religious character, and a range of school sizes.
Ystruth Primary are one of the Pioneer Schools who have been selected from around Wales to design and develop our new curriculum for Wales; with further plans to support schools in preparing for its implementation and provide practitioners with professional learning opportunities and support. Our practitioner Mrs Mackay, is our Pioneer Representative and is currently working on curriculum design and will continue to support schools to implement the vision set out in Professor Donaldson’s report.
We have been involved in shaping the Cross Curricular Responsibilities as part of the Strand 1 phase of the curriculum design. We are currently working on Strand 2 and helping to form the Area of Learning Experience for Health and Well Being.
Links to Pioneer Schools: