Friday 8th March

A fantastic start to our second half of the Spring Term and as promised a return to my blog. Apologies to those of you who have missed it!

All this week the school has been busy preparing for our Eisteddfod which we held on Friday. It has been a real pleasure to see the children so engaged in their competition entries. Handwriting and story writing has been of a very high standard this year, the art work was stunning and the 3D models currently covering our stage are something to behold!

All the entries received a point towards their houses and the final results were very close. St James were victorious overall but the confidence the children had in performing their songs, recitations or playing their instruments meant they were all winners! Da iawn pawb!

I have to say a huge thank you to all the staff who made the Eisteddfod so successful, and to our fabulous TA’s who displayed all the winning entries so well. Diolch my fawr!

Our World Book Day celebrations went very well with all pupils and staff who dressed up looking fantastic! One of the best parts of this day is seeing the children working in mixed age groups. Seeing the older pupils chanting to the younger ones and seeing them grow in confidence too really is amazing. A big thank you for supporting your children with the costumes too.

There are photos and videos on Twitter of both these events.

Also this week I had an afternoon tea with the winners of the midday supervisor raffle ticket competition. We shared sandwiches and cake and some lovely conversation too.

As you know we are concentrating on improving reading provision in school thus term. There has been a greater focus on developing all reading strategies, not just relying on phonics, and also looking at the materials the children are reading, ensuring they are challenging enough to raise reading levels but also within their ability range so that the pupils are confident and fluent.

We are introducing an online reading resource very soon. This will complement the books the children are reading at home and provide extra opportunities for the children to develop all their reading skills. The staff are being trained in the use of the resource in the next few weeks and we will be passing all details on as soon as we can.

Our PTFA have organised a storytelling evening this Wednesday (March 13th), I really hope you can join us for this. A chance to hear some great stories and also enjoy some hot chocolate and pizza too!

Mrs Joanne Bayton


Friday November 16th

Class assembly on Friday morning was a real treat. The children in year 5 gave us a fantastic rendition of several wartime songs and gave a real insight into the emotions and reality of being a World War 2 evacuee. Years 5 and 6 have really thrown themselves into this topic and are really enjoying their learning experiences.

Foundation Phase also had a treat this week, enjoying a visit from Costain leading a STEM project where children had to solve problems and work as part of a team. Key Stage 2 will have a turn next week!

It was good to see Mr Langdon back in school. He will be full time with us from Tuesday this week. A huge thank you to Mrs Evans who has done a superb job in year 6 and will be really missed!

I sent home some topic overviews this week after parents’ requests at the last parents’ forum for more information regarding the curriculum. As you may be aware the curriculum in Wales is undergoing major changes over the next few years which will allow a stronger voice for pupils to decide what they want to learn and also an opportunity for teachers to become more creative too. Lots more information to follow over the next few terms.

A huge thank you to the PTFA team for arranging a fabulous cake competition and sale in aid of Children in Need. I’m not sure how much money we raised but thank you to all who supported us in this very good cause.

The Hockey tournament we hosted this week was a huge success. It was very well organised by Laura James and her team from hockey Wales and it was lovely to see past pupil Bethan back in school as a sports volunteer. Our year 4 class learned some new skills, made some new friendships with pupils from Ysgol Y Fenni and Llanfoist and proved to be polite and helpful hosts! Well done to all involved!!

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday November 9th

A really busy first week back! We are all embracing the new half term and the opportunity to work collaboratively as Abergavenny schools to start to bring together the new curriculum for Wales.

All school were represented at the joint training session in King Henry on Monday. We received some training from Kath Bevan, the EAS Wellbeing and Equity Lead, on awareness of the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences. As you know pupils’ well-being is at the heart of everything we do in Llantilio. A recent visit from HMI Estyn agreed with our evaluation that a whole school approach to pupil wellbeing ensures all children feel valued, secure and ready to learn.

We are fortunate to have appointed a new HLTA, Mrs James, who will continue the excellent well-being support previously provided by our ELSA Mrs Francis. Although Mrs James hasn’t completed the training yet she has made a very positive start getting to know all the children in school. We will be in touch with all parents whose children received additional well-being support in the next week or so to discuss next steps.

We also welcomed Mrs Malnati who is working as a job share with Miss Toombs in year 3, and Mr Langdon is making a phased return and will be back full time from 26th November.

On Thursday Father Julian joined us for a special assembly to commemorate 100 years since Armistice Day. We learned about the significance of wearing poppies and also of the Cenotaph in London. Some of our very talented year 4 pupils read the prayers and poems they had written in class too


I am very proud of 2 of our year 6 pupils who represented Llantilio at the service in St Teilo’s on Sunday morning. They laid a cross on the Cenotaph in the churchyard and also have a reading in the service. Da iawn Crystal and Harri.


We have had some further traffic calming improvements in our car park over the half term holiday too. Our bus bay / drop off all owns the children who arrive to school by bus or taxi to be picked up and dropped off safely and also allows more visibility for pedestrians crossing through the car park too. We are respectfully asking that no one parks in this bay and to not park over empty bays to maximise the parking available. Many thanks for your support in this matter, helping to keep your children safe.

Following the parents’ forum last half term all classes will be sending out an overview of the half term this week. You should also receive some information about Mathletics – our new home/school platform for maths homework. If you haven’t received this by Friday please let me know.

As always, please call in and see me if you have any questions or queries

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday October 19th

A huge thank you to everyone who donated items for our Harvest Festival celebration this week. We have supported Abergavenny Food bank for the last few years and I was so pleased with this year’s donation. They do amazing work for families who are struggling and provide an increasing amount of support. Many, many thanks.

I also have to say a huge thank you to the staff, School is looking lovely at the moment. We are remembering all those who fought for our freedom and commemorating the 100 years since the end of World War 1 in a fabulous display of poppies. Well done to Mrs Wood and all who helped with this amazing display

On Friday we held interviews for our HLTA post and the job share vacancy created as Mrs Sutherland takes over year 4 after half term. As you know all our teaching staff are entitled to Planning Preparation and Assessment time (known as PPA). Their classes are covered by our HLTA. The Teachers also have leadership time throughout the term and Mrs Balkwill has an additional half day out of class to carry out her Deputy Head’s role. This time out is really important and allows the leaders to develop work in their subjects across the school. This is especially vital at the moment as we head towards the implementation of our new curriculum in Wales. We have tried really hard to ensure that we use the same supply cover where possible but this has proven very difficult this term due to illness and agency staff changing.We are very much hoping that our new staff will start straight after half term which will help alleviate this issue. I will write to all parents with details of our appointments next week.

This is the last week before half term, it’s been a very busy one as always! We have some visiting headteachers from schools in Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent coming in tomorrow to carry out a peer review and on Tuesday an HMI from Estyn is carrying out a review of health and well-being in school. This is part of an across Wales review looking at best practice that can be shared across the country. I will write about the outcomes next week!

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday October 5th

Mental health and well-being are really ‘hot topics’ at the moment and something I really feel Llantilio does well. In school we know our pupils really well, we recognise the times they are struggling and we try our best to ensure they all have someone to talk to or share a worry with if necessary. Some of the comments from the pupil and parent questionnaires completed last summer support this view too.

100% pupils agree that they know who to talk to if they are worried or upset. 95% agree the school deals well with bullying.

98% parents agree that their child likes the schools, 94% agree their child was helped to settle in and 95% agree that the school helps their child become more mature and take on responsibility.

I will be sending out full details of the parents’ questionnaire next week and the results will be discussed in our first parents forum to be held on October 26th at 9 am in the hall.

We are currently advertising for someone to fill Mrs Francis’ position too so that we can continue to offer ELSA support for some of our children who are in need of a little more structured support. We also have referred some of our families to ‘Building Better Families’ if we feel that other agencies would be best able to support specific needs.

We are trying this year to increase the impact of pupil voice in school improvement and development. It is one of the key priorities in our development plan. Mrs Pugh is our well-being lead and has been amazing at ensuring that the school council, Eco committee, bronze ambassadors are involved in decision making and ensuring staff are aware of any concerns that their peers may bring to them. Also Mrs Hall and Mrs Sutherland encourage our Criw Cymreig to take regular weekly assemblies and decide on our siaradwr yr wythnos (welsh speaker of the week).

Mr Oram has developed our pupils input into whole school assemblies through the worship committee too.

We operate an ‘open door’ policy where everyone is welcome to call in and discuss any issues as they arise. We do our very best to see a parent or child as soon as we can – sometimes this isn’t possible due to teachers being due in class or previously arranged meetings etc. but we will always ring you or see you as soon as we can.

This Wednesday is Mental Health Awareness day and we are having a hello yellow day to raise awareness amongst our children and help them realise there is always someone who will listen if they are worried or concerned. We are asking all children to wear something yellow and will be involved in some circle time and discussion activities throughout the day.

We are also re launching our Daily Mile this week. It has been difficult in some occasions to fit this in to our packed timetables. From tomorrow we are going to trial a whole school approach and all do the daily mike together, just after lunch. We will let you know how we get on!! #healthyconfidentindividuals

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday 28th September

Part of my job as a headteacher in school is to support staff in their professional development. This may mean to continue to improve as classroom teachers, to develop as leaders in the school and ultimately, if the teacher desires, to move on to deputy headship and headship.

Whilst this is very positive for the staff and the school, it can create issues when our staff decide it’s time to move on and ‘spread their wings’. The gaps left in School when they take their talents and expertise elsewhere can seem huge and cause concern for colleagues and parents alike. This is particularly true when a member of staff has been part of our school for a long time and gives over and above in all areas. The timing of such events can also create problems too!

It has been a really difficult decision for the Governing Body and myself to make in supporting Mr Oram’s secondment to Crickhowell Primary School as assistant head. Whilst this is a huge opportunity for Mr Oram, it leaves Llantilio without his talents and expertise. I understand that this creates unease and tension for parents. I hope the opportunity of a meeting reassured everyone that we will do everything we can to support a smooth transition for the children in year 4. I know Mrs Sutherland is very much looking forward to teaching year 4 again.

We have also secured the support of one of our new parents, Mrs Emma Morris, who has agreed to support Mrs Bawler to ensure that the choir continues to grow this year. We intend to enter the Eisteddfod as usual and carry on the strong tradition of music and singing in Llantilio until Mr Oram returns.

I am really keen to act on some of the concerns raised in the meeting, particularly ensuring we are as clear as possible in our communications to you. We try to get as much information out via SeeSaw, texts, newsletters and the website – which I know needs updating – but if you have any ideas of ways we can continue to improve communication I would love to hear them.

We have a few training days coming up this term. On Friday 12th the school will be closed to pupils whilst the staff are trained in some strategies for improving spelling in school and on Monday 5th November all Abergavenny schools are closed for us to attend whole cluster training on supporting pupils who have suffered Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and aspects of the new curriculum.

I am out quite a lot this coming week, a meeting of all Monmouthshire heads on Tuesday afternoon, a budget monitoring meeting on Wednesday morning, an EAS seminar on Thursday morning and a Core Group meeting on Friday afternoon! Hopefully I will fit in some time to spend with the children!! I have really enjoyed teaching in a few classes this week and hope to do this far more often in the future!

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Autumn Term 2018, September 14th

A great start to a new school year. It is great to see everyone back having enjoyed a lovely break over the Summer.

Our new reception class have now completed their first 2 weeks of half days. A few tears to start with but they are now very much members of the Llantilio family! The morning session joined us for our Celebration assembly on Friday  too and we are looking forward to welcoming the whole class for their first full day on Wednesday.

We also welcome some new staff. Mrs J Harrhy is working in year 6, taking over from Miss Wride who supports a pupil in that class. We also have 2 new midday supervisors, Mrs Mills and Mrs Brown who have joined our team. Cllr Martyn Groucutt also joined us as Chair of the Governing body at the end of the Summer Term. i know he is keen to get into school as much as possible and attend as many school events as he can in order to get to know everyone in school. Welcome all!

We are focussing very much this year on developing our school curriculum to start to work towards Wales’ National Mission and Successful Futures. As a start to this we have introduced the 4 Core Purposes of the new curriculum to the children in the form of hashtags –

#ambitious capable learners

#enterprising creative contributors

#ethical informed citizens

#healthy confident individuals

you will see lots more of these around the school, in communications sent home, SeeSaw etc and I’m sure the children will tell you all about their learning when they come home too!

We are also continuing to develop maths and literacy through the school both in formal English and Maths lessons but also developing skills in these areas through the curriculum too. ICT skills are also on our development plan and how we can develop these skills for all children. They should come home with some log on details for a new maths learning platform called Mathletics soon – look out for this and their log on details for Hwb and SeeSaw.

The new arrangements for Breakfast club have had a few teething issues but I think we are almost there?!? The Parent Pay system has struggled a bit with some issues, particularly for those children who are entitled to free school meals.  Main things to remember are to sign in children when they attend (parents need to do this for Foundation Phase pupils, KS2 pupils can sign themselves in); breakfast is free to all pupils, the paid element is for the childcare costs before 8 30 am. If your child attends after 8 30 am there is nothing to pay; all children who come to breakfast club should be there by 8 40am to allow time to eat before school starts. Any questions, please call in to the office. Hope that helps?

I will be confirming dates for parents’ evenings as soon as possible and also inviting you to a Parents Forum / Cuppa and a chat in the very near future.


Mrs Joanne Bayton