Wrexham Primary School praised for ‘caring, supportive, happy and safe environment for pupils’ in inspection report


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Job : Mon 22 Aug 2022

A primary school in Wrexham has been praised for its “caring, supportive, happy and safe environment for pupils”.

Ysgol Bro Alun, a Welsh school in Gwersyllt, was visited by Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, in June 2022.

The school, which has 276 pupils, has proven to be a “happy school where nearly all pupils treat each other, staff and visitors with courtesy and respect”.

Estyn focused her inspection on school learning, leadership, student welfare and the care, support and guidance available.

It has found that while on entry to school most pupils’ Welsh language skills are below expectations, during their time at school many pupils, including those with special needs Additional Learning Programs (ALN), are making good progress overall.

However, Estyn said many students “at the top of the school aren’t performing to the best of their abilities”.

The report states: “Throughout the school, most students listen carefully to the ideas of others and follow the instructions of adults.

“In the early years of school, many pupils communicate confidently in Welsh when sharing ideas with their teachers. In the kindergarten classroom, they respond appropriately to instructions from adults using a range of useful vocabulary to convey their ideas.

“At the end of year 2, they are happy to talk about their work and their experiences, for example when they discuss the different types of insects they have identified in the area.

“As they move through the school, most pupils use polished and precise Welsh and English when asking and answering questions and discussing their work with their teachers.

“They are ready to share their ideas and speak Welsh in formal situations when adults are around. However, a minority of students’ Welsh speaking skills do not match their starting age and abilities. Many are too willing to turn to English in class and at informal times.

In terms of well-being at Ysgol Bro Alun, Estyn described the school as a “friendly and warm community”, where students, staff and visitors to the school greet each other politely and respectfully.

The students were found to be “welcoming and very willing to discuss aspects of school life with adults. The students are proud of their school and many enjoy their time there.

Support for care and guidance was also praised, with Estyn’s report highlighting a “dedicated room available for vulnerable groups of pupils where skills are developed to boost their self-image and self-confidence. “.

Staff also provide “always good opportunities to prepare students to openly discuss their emotions, such as through an exciting activity where students place their hand on a color-changing log to encourage them to discuss their concerns”.

The teaching offer is also highlighted, with the inspection saying it has “a strong working relationship with students throughout the school and treats them with respect, which helps students build confidence and to demonstrate a healthy attitude towards learning”.

The inspection report adds: “On the whole, teachers give thoughtful consideration to giving students the opportunity to practice the skills learned in real-life situations, often related to their subjects.

“However, planning at the top of the school does not always ensure that student learning consistently builds on their prior knowledge to ensure progression as they progress through school.

“A good range of math and language activities are offered to pupils; however, there are not enough opportunities for them to apply their numeracy and literacy skills across the curriculum.

“The school has an attractive outdoor space, which provides an inspiring learning environment for students. However, in some classes, opportunities for students to learn outside are limited.

Following the inspection, three recommendations were issued for the school:

  • Improve student level in literacy and numeracy, especially at the top of the school
  • Ensure an appropriate level of challenge for students, especially at the top of the school
  • Strengthen strategic planning processes to prioritize the most important steps to improve student outcomes

Estyn will now write a report on how the school can respond to the three suggestions for improvement.

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