About Swiss Valley Primary School
Swiss Valley is a Community Primary School which caters for pupils between the ages of three and eleven years. It was built in 1969 and is set in an open, elevated ground in the centre of the Swiss Valley Park Estate, and enjoys panoramic views of the Burry Estuary, town of Llanelli and surrounding area. About 60% of pupils come from a rural background and 40% from an urban environment. The Head teacher has been in post since 2003. Two extensions were built between 2007 and 2009 resulting in the formation of a Year 4, 5 and 6 teaching block and a new entrance and administration block.
In January 2014 following much hard work by parents, staff and the Governing Body, the school set up its own Pre-School Provision/Nursery. This was funded as part of a Welsh Government pilot aiming to increase flexibility for parents. The “wrap around care” provision is run by Mrs. Nicola Williams (Out of Hours Breakfast, Evening and Holiday club leader). The school is able to offer the Welsh Government’s offer of 30 hours free child care for 3 to 4 year old pupils and several pupils take advantage of this opportunity.
In recent years, since the development of this pre-school provision/nursery, pupil numbers have been consistent. Including the nursery there are currently 230 pupils on roll and these children are educated in nine classes including the part time nursery. The school conforms to the Local Authority’s admissions policy and pupils enter the nursery in the term after their third birthday. Around 14% of pupils are entitled to free school meals (eFSM), this has more than doubled over the last couple of years but is still well below the national and Carmarthenshire average.
Swiss Valley is an EW school (WAG categorisation) where Welsh is taught as a second language. Currently no pupils speak Welsh as a first language at home. Despite this, there is a strong Welsh ethos within the school and prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, Teacher Assessments demonstrated that standards had been improving steadily in nearly all classes. One of the school’s Welsh speaking governors had been supporting Key Stage 2 pupils each week with their Welsh reading and oracy skills but this had to stop at the end of March 2020 – due to the lockdown. The use of Welsh has been highlighted as a strength during a number of external LA/ERW and Estyn inspections. Swiss Valley was the first non-Welsh medium school in Carmarthenshire to attain the Cymraeg Campus Siarter Iaith Silver Award.
Although most pupils come from white, British backgrounds, we also have a number of children from other backgrounds. (Chinese, Indian, Polish, Turkish, Pakistani, etc.). There were 20 children (9.1 %) of different ethnic groups at the latest PLASC survey (January 2021). Ten of these children have at some stage had English as a second language. There are no LAC children attending the school.
Additional Learning Needs
There are currently (September 2022) 55 pupils who have been identified as having additional learning needs (24%) and have been placed on the school’s A.L.N. register at either School Action - 36 pupils (15%) or School Action Plus – 16 pupils (7%). Three pupils have a Statement of A.L.N. (1%). A wide range of universal provision intervention strategies are well established and these try to ensure that these pupils without and individual development plan make optimum progress. 19 pupils including the 3 statemented pupils access individual learning provision and have their own IDP. The school's limited Pupil Development Grant helps to fund one of the two ELSA trained teacher assistants who support pupils with their health and well being issues.
More Able and Talented Pupils
Swiss Valley is fortunate to have a number of pupils who have been identified as being “More Able and Talented, (“MAT”). A register of these pupils is reviewed and updated regularly by the school’s “MAT” leader, and all teachers aim to provide these with challenging, stimulating and enriching learning opportunities. We aim to plan our teaching and learning carefully so that each child can aspire to the highest level of personal achievement. This was identified as being a good feature at the most recent Estyn inspection published in June 2019. The school also uses part of the PDG to employ a tennis coach for a morning each week. This has been an extremely successful inititative as it has helped to improve the health and well being of all pupils form Years 1 to 6. On a more individual basis these sessions have enthused and encouraged two pupils in particular, with one becoming the Welsh under 10's boys champion and the other becoming the girls' under 10 and under 12's tennis champion.
The school has close ties with the local community and local businesses and these frequently support learning projects as well as sponsoring events and activities. The school is constantly trying to improve and as a consequence of this, it has regularly invited external assessors to help it measure these improvements. In recent years it has been awarded Healthy School awards, the Eco School Platinum Award for the fourth time and the International School Award. Swiss Valley became a Cornerstones Case study for its’ excellent work carried out in the development of the allotment outdoor learning facility. It has also been part of Estyn’s national review into ESDGC for which it was asked to write a case study. The school have also been regional winners of the Enterprise Troopers entrepreneurial initiative and in recent years have been winners of both the National Team Spirit award and the Community Sustainability Wales award.
In September 2015, the school entered into an Informal Federation with Dafen Primary School. This federation lasted four years and was ended at the end of August 2019. The school still have close ties with Dafen Primary School.
Swiss Valley School continues to pride itself on being a ‘family’ in the sense that we are supportive and encouraging of all our members and have processes that ensure all stakeholders have a voice in decision making. We aim to ensure that everyone has the same chances and opportunities irrespective of race, sex, class or disability. Our vision is to equip pupils with all the necessary knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for learning so that they can be successful and meet or exceed their potential in secondary school and beyond. Evidence from feedback from our partner comprehensive schools suggest, that overtime, this is being achieved. We encourage our pupils not to be afraid of making mistakes and that they should always take every opportunity to try new things.
The school motto is, “Mae rhaid mentro cyn cael dim!” –“In order to succeed at anything, at first you must try!