COGAN Primary School is located on the outskirts of Penarth serving the Cogan area.

The Victorian building in which it is based has been the centre of the community since it was built in 1884.

Cogan Nursery School is in the adjacent street and the school has close links with the staff of

that school, so that transition between nursery and primary school is smooth.

The school has been a green category school in the Welsh Government’s traffic light system for schools since the system began has been awarded an ‘A’ for its capacity to lead.

Headteacher Susan Sibert has been in the role for three years having previously served as deputy head for four years.

She said: “I am very proud of our school. It is an absolute pleasure to serve a community like ours.

“My staff are committed to provide the best learning experiences and opportunities possible.

“They care for the children they teach and well-being is everything to us.

“If the children and community aren’t happy, then the learning can’t be at its best.

“We strive for the best learning environment possible.”

The school’s challenge adviser says that leaders and staff have well defined roles and responsibilities and exhibit high professional standards.

The school has been recognised for its hard work and the quality of education and its ability to add value to the pupils’ learning,” said Mrs Sibert.

Cogan Primary School has a very successful Hearing Resource Base.

A specialist teacher and support staff help children with moderate to profound deafness.

The children here have specialist support and are fully integrated into the daily routines of the school

The school was asked to complete a best practice paper about the Hearing Resource Base and the integration of pupils with hearing difficulties across the school by Estyn.

“Having children with hearing impairments at our school enhances the richness and promotes a caring ethos which makes Cogan Primary what it is,” said Mrs Sibert.

“All children learn a sign of the week and they sign the school values.”

The school choir regularly perform and sign at Penarth Rotary concerts.

Staff ratios are high and children are supported in their learning in support and challenge groups.

Mrs Sibert said: “There is clear vision and drive led by an enthusiastic senior leadership team.

“We are ever moving forward and are keen to embed new developments such as the new Donaldson Creative Curriculum, whilst ensuring the fundamentals of education, such as reading, writing, mathematics and ICT are high priorities.

“We feel we have a good structure and balance to our curriculum.

“Challenge Advisers have commented on this as being excellent practice.”

One thing the visitors are often shocked by is the extent of the school facilities, which include a bespoke new safe entrance, community room, PPA rooms, large yard areas and a grassed outside wildlife area and classroom.

Outdoor learning and physical activities are also high on the school’s list of priorities.

“A healthy body and healthy mind helps us encourage our pupils to participate in a number of our clubs and sports activities,” said Mrs Sibert.

“Each teacher gives up their time generously to provide free clubs.”

These include hockey, football, rugby, lacrosse, cricket, netball, choir, an eco club, gardening, signing, cookery, homework and story club.

Mrs Sibert added: “The children are so proud to represent the school in outside events and competitions. We also get good feedback from members of the public who comment on the exemplary behaviour of our pupils.”

“We are also lucky to have a specialist library, music room and ICT suite, as well as banks of laptops and Ipads,” she said.

The school is well supported by our governors, the parent association and friends of the school.

Everyone pitches in to help support the school.

The Ground Force day held in October brought many members of the school community together to maintain the high standards of the outdoor areas.

The school has recently held open days and a family picnic, where everyone in the community was welcomed.

“These days have been joyous,” said Mrs Sibert. “They gave the children a chance to share their school and show off the great things they have been learning about.

“We have also been very successful in winning prizes from the National School Heritage Initiative promoting history using our heritage and surrounding area of Cogan.

“We have been asked to write a best practice paper about our work by the Central South Consortium.”

Learning is enhanced using the philosophies of the four main purposes from the Donaldson document which includes ambitious, capable learners who are ready to learn throughout their lives; enterprising, creative contributors who are ready to play a full part in life and work; ethical, informed citizens who are ready to be citizens of Wales and the world; and healthy, confident individuals who are ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

They have many visitors and take the children on many visits to enhance their learning.

Some of the notable projects and visits have been sponsoring the training of a police dog, links with the RNLI and looking at world trade with help from the Barry and District Soroptimist International Society.

Mrs Sibert, who was previously the associate adviser for literacy in the Vale of Glamorgan, continues to promote writing across the Penarth cluster by organising the Penarth Cluster Writers’ Squad.

She has been ably assisted on time from Mel Griffin at Griffin Books, in securing well known children’s authors to work with more able readers and writers across the Penarth.

Each school takes turns in hosting events to promote and enhance literacy skills.

“Our community is very generous and we take part in many fund raising events for those less fortunate than ourselves such as NSPCC, Christmas Shoe boxes, Marie Curie, Ty Hafan and Macmillan,” said Mrs Sibert.

“These funding raising activities promote pupil voice and encourage our children to think about others.” The school council and learning squad liaises with neighbouring schools and with St Cyres to work on joint ventures.

The current collaboration is a project on ‘diversity’. Year six take on further responsibilities as “guardian angels” linking with new reception children and sharing reading sessions.

The school recently opened its new entrance and all the children worked with artist Kate Derbyshire to produce a stunning mosaic mural on show in the new office.