Friday December 8th

Firstly apologies for the lack of blog last week, especially to loyal reader Steph Hall! My mind is elsewhere at the moment and I simply forgot!! We had an email 2 weeks ago from Estyn asking for a report on the impact we have made working on the 6 recommendations from our inspection in September 2016. It sounds like an easy task as we have done so much and made really strong progress in literacy, maths, Welsh, ICT, assessment, marking and feedback and developing leadership over last year or so. The problem is they want a report in 4 sides of A4 and it’s really hard to condense all our achievements into such a short list!!

It was really pleasing to attend a meeting on Monday with our challenge advisor, MCC personnel Will McClean and Sharon Randall Smith and the cabinet member for education Richard John and to hear that strong progress has been made, especially this last few weeks where all our efforts and hard work have really started to come together.

I did manage to escape from the computer screen for long enough to visit Thornwell Primary in Chepstow this week, pop to Magor to pick up some application forms for our vacancy and attend a MAPS meeting on Tuesday!

Mrs Hall has sent me this picture this morning (Sunday). Doesn’t the school look lovely?

The decision to close school is never an easy one to make. I will be in full consultation with the caretaker, staff and chair of Governors tomorrow morning to assess the site and safety for the children and will make that decision by 7 30am. We will be publishing on our website, Twitter and via School Comms. We have to ensure there are enough staff able to get to school safely to be able to supervise the children, a Child Protection officer needs to be on site and above all we need to be sure that it is safe for the children. I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If anyone has a spare hour and a shovel and would like to help ensure School can open safely as soon as possible your help in the morning would be greatly appreciated!

Please watch our website and Twitter feeds for the most up to date information.

Mrs Joanne Bayton


Friday November 24th

Sorry it’s late – forgot to tap the publish button!!

I spent some time in different classes this week seeing our maths developments in action. The children have responded so well to the mental / oral strategies we have put in over the last couple of years and it’s great to see how quick their mental recall of number facts is getting. All children participate with such enthusiasm too. I have to say a huge thank you too to all our Teaching Assistants who support teachers and children alike, not just in maths but in all areas of the curriculum. We’ve roped in several parent volunteers too so a huge thank you to those who’ve come along to hear readers, and help with resources. Mrs Griffiths has been amazing this week and I know Mrs Jones is looking for volunteers for maths resources next week if you are available?

I also attended a moderation session for Welsh in year 6 this week. Mr Langdon taught in England before joining us in Llantilio so is not familiar with the Welsh language element of the curriculum. Mrs Pugh ‘volunteered’ to teach the Welsh in year 6 and we are also receiving support from the EAS to support year 6.

In the moderation sessions we work with our cluster colleagues, and our KHS colleagues to establish a shared understanding of end of year levels. At the end of the year we have a portfolio to show our Level 4 and Level 5 work.

We were pleased to welcome back Lorraine Jenkins to assembly on Friday and even more pleased to present her with a cheque for £161 for the children’s centre, raised at the non uniform day.

Nicky Evans from Persimmon homes also attended assembly on Tuesday to present Erin in year 4 with her prize for naming a Street in the new Deri Farm estate.

Practice starts in earnest for our Christmas concerts next week too – more details to follow!

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday November 17th

We held our second training session on written mathematical calculations on Monday night. Alison Jones from the EAS followed up the training she gave last week on addition and subtraction with further training on multiplication and division strategies. Mr Langdon and I then spent a Tuesday afternoon looking at maths books and talking to learners about their maths. I am really pleased with the progress being made in all aspects of maths teaching and learning. Children are benefiting from rich experiences and the opportunities to apply problem solving and reasoning skills in context. We are hoping that our Creative Schools’ project will further enhance this. – more details on this to follow!

I spent Thursday with my colleagues from all over South East Wales at an Education conference held in the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff. We were taking a look at the progress made towards planning a new curriculum for Wales. It is an exciting time for all involved as we have the opportunity to shape and develop a curriculum that is fit for 21st century learning. It is encouraging to see how much research and thought is going it to this, particularly the consultation with teachers who are in the best place to decide what and how children need to learn. There are lots of Pioneer schools trialling projects and themed approaches and they are now getting all other schools involved. The Abergavenny cluster of schools will be getting involved in one of these projects very soon!

Well done to everyone who took part in the cake competition or came to school with silly hair on Friday! You helped to raise over £350 for Children in Need. You’re all brilliant, thank you!

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday November 10th

I absolutely love this!! The most important people in Llantilio are immortalised on a tea towel!! These are being sold to raise funds for various projects throughout the school. Love it! And a huge thank you to Sally Wood for all her hard work in organising this.  – if you haven’t had a chance to order one make sure you get in touch with us as soon as possible.

This week we saw Year 5’s brilliant class assembly where the class travelled back to the 1960’s courtesy of Dr Who’s Tardis! I was amazed at how much they had learned about this iconic period in history, both here in the UK and in America. They learned so much and I was hugely impressed with how much additional work and research had gone on at home too. The children were clearly inspired by the topic and it showed in their confident and entertaining performance – a big well done to all.

A bit of advertising now! I know a lot of our children (and staff) have taken part in many productions in the Borough Theatre and have been superb too! This is something we have in common as I have a love of the theatre too. I have been a member of the Abertillery Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society for over 20 years and this year we are putting on Cinderella in the Metropole Theatre in Abertillery at the end of November. Somehow I have been cast as one of the ugly sisters – don’t know how that happened!! It would be great to see you there!

Looking forward to another busy week next week!

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday 27th October

We made it! Seemed like the longest half term ever but it ended well with a brilliant class assembly from Year 2, well done to all involved.

On Thursday we went as a School to visit St Gwladys primary school in Bargoed. We spent the day there looking at how they have developed maths teaching over the last few years and were able to pick up a lot of tips that we can use in school to further develop maths in Llantilio. It was a very interesting visit which gave us lots of food for thought. 

Our Cluster training on Friday involved staff in the literacy and numeracy projects and also the implementation of the Digital Competency Framework and our More Able children. 

Back in school the PTFA arranged for a local carpenter to come and fit some shelves in what will become our library area. They look fabulous and I can’t wait for the full vision for the room to become reality. If you know anyone who would like to help run the library, listen to readers or be part of the refurbishment please let me know. 

Next half term will also be very busy. We are expecting Estyn to come and revisit the school, probably early next year, so we will be continuing to work hard in literacy and numeracy and other curriculum areas as well as our Christmas activities. 

For the next week though it’s time to rest and recharge those batteries! Have a great week. 

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday 20th October

Thank you so much for all the donations  brought in for the Harvest celebration. The service was lovely – thanks to Mr Oram’s superb organisation and the classes that took part. We had a lovely Harvest poem from year 4, year 1 told us about where various foods come from and year 6 children did some readings from the Bible and ended our service with some Harvest prayers.

It was good to welcome Father John who read a poem about Harvest mice, all the children had to pretend to be mice! 

All the food collected will be donated to Abergavenny food bank. 

Also this week I held the first Parents’ Forum of the year. We discussed ways the School communicates with parents – emails, texts, website, seesaw, letters etc. to see if there are any other ways we could get information out to parents. 

We also discussed the PTFA, pressures on the School budget and traffic issues around the school, and the results of the parents’ questionnaires which highlighted concerns around homework, communication and not understanding the complaints procedure. We will be addressing these in more detail over the coming weeks

Our Challenge Advisor Jayne Arthur joined us on Tuesday to look at progress being made in literacy and maths. Mrs Balkwill has taken on the role as literacy lead this year and Mr Langdon is leading maths so this day gave them the opportunity to look at standards across the school and identify any areas that need further development. 

It was also a chance to celebrate the progress that is being made, I’m sure you will all see a difference in your children’s books when you come for your parents’ consultation.  Books are definitely improving in all areas and in maths we are benefitting from working with our partner School St Gwladys in Bargoed. On Thursday, our first training day, we will all be visiting St Gwladys to see maths in action in their school. 

Only 3 days left for pupils this half term. We have had a lot of children off due to stomach bugs in recent weeks which has prompted reminders about hand washing and trying to avoid spreading infection. Hopefully this and the ‘flu immunisations this week will mean we have a healthy second half of the Autumn term! 

Staff will be training in maths on Thursday and attending Training for all the Abergavenny cluster schools on Friday. School will reopen on Monday 6th November. Don’t forget parents’ consultations this week, we have a non uniform day on Wednesday to raise money for the children’s centre in Nevil Hall and Year 2 are doing their class assembly on Wednesday morning at 9 15. 

Mrs Joanne Bayton

Friday 13th October

I think it’s fair to say I have been a critic of social media in the past as it can all too often be abused and lead to minor misunderstandings being blown out of all proportion. 

However this week I am again quoting from a social media post to sum up one of the best days we have had in Llantilio – and yes I did ask for permission to reproduce the post! 

We held our Open Day on Thursday – an annual event where we invite prospective parents to visit to look around our fabulous school and also existing parents to check out what we’re doing. Traditionally we don’t do our usual timetabled subjects and this year our Open Day coincided with Outdoor Learning Day. The staff arranged several different activities including Yoga, Forest Schools, Drumming, Leaf Art, Den Building, Mud Cocktails and Outdoor Maths and all the children, in mixed age groups, experienced these throughout the day. 

It was wonderful to join the children at certain points during the day, to watch the older ones supporting the younger children and to have our prospective parents witness some first class learning taking place. Even better to hear our parents sharing their children’s’ experiences with them and feeling compelled to comment on social media! Thanks Mrs Jones- and all the others!! And a huge thanks to all the staff for their hard work in making the day such a success! 
Mrs Joanne Bayton