Schools from across Bridgend county borough have won prizes in an annual competition set by the Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative – a scheme which encourages learners to take an interest in their Welsh heritage, as well as share their knowledge and understanding with their communities.
Promoting the development of cross-curricular skills through the study of the history and culture of Wales, the competition this year has placed a spotlight on the quality work that has been produced in local schools.
Ffaldau Primary School won the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust: The William Menelaus Prize for best project on industrial heritage. The Moondance Foundation Prize was given to a list of schools for their work covering a variety of topics – schools include Cefn Cribwr Primary School, Pencoed Comprehensive School, Brynmenyn Primary School, and Archdeacon John Lewis Church in Wales Primary School. Tynyrheol Primary School won the Richard Price Memorial Award.
Stacey Morgan, project lead at Ffaldau Primary School, said: “We always endeavour to take part in the Welsh Heritage Society as it gives us a great opportunity to continue exploring our Welsh culture. We also love to see what themes and focus the competition will have each year.”
Their project, called ‘Industry in Wales, Past, Present and Future: Power of Wales’, resulted in learners creating a whole class stop-motion movie that revealed all they had discovered about the industrial development of Wales. This was shared with their peers, as well as the wider community.
One pupil commented: “Making the stop motion movie was my favourite part. It was cool to see how Wales had changed over time and we were able to explain why.”
Cefn Cribwr Primary School’s project was called ‘The Cefn Cribwr Community’. Pupils were particularly proud of how their locality had played a pivotal role at significant points in history. They discovered how the local industry, including mining and farming, had helped to shape the local landscape.
Headteacher, Stephen Howells, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to be nominated for an award at the 2023 Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative.
“We were judged on our whole school project; the ‘Cefn Cribwr Community’. To win was wonderful, but to witness the depth of understanding that the pupils could demonstrate as the weeks built upon each other, was an even greater joy. It is so important that our pupils have a strong understanding of the history of Wales, and this begins with their community. Cefn Cribwr has such a rich history, and the pupils and staff had a fascinating term.”
The work of Archdeacon John Lewis Church in Wales Primary School was titled ‘What Connects Us?’ and Pencoed Comprehensive School scooped their Moondance Foundation Prize with their work celebrating 50 years of the school. The assignment chosen by Brynmenyn Primary School was, “Is our local heroine, Sarah Jane Howell, remembered?” – a highly personal theme for the school and local community, since Sarah Jane Howell lost her life whilst rescuing a pupil from drowning in the Llynfi River on 19 December 1911.
The life of Dr Richard Price, a revolutionary born in 1723 in Llangeinor, inspired the pupil centred project undertaken by learners at Tynyrheol Primary School, which has landed them the Richard Price Memorial Award. Learners collaborated with the wider community, as well as scholars from across the world, to investigate Price’s life and legacy. The children and their work prominently featured in the Garw Valley Historical Society’s Exhibition in the Richard Price Centre and at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay – with children giving up time on their half term holidays to present their work! Finally, pupils hosted their own celebration for parents, the local community, local politicians and project partners earlier this year.
Councillor Jon Paul Blundell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “What an array of successes for our schools! It’s clear that the children gain so much from their involvement in the Welsh Heritage Awards, from developing cross curricular skills, as well as a depth of understanding about their Welsh culture. Well done all!”