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How Cadoxton Primary School is developing its Community Focused Schools approaches.

First published:
15 November 2023
Last updated:

School context

  • Cadoxton Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan local authority
  • 499 learners
  • 37% of learners eligible for free school meals over a three-year average

Community Focused School approaches taken

The school has created an inclusive, safe and enabling community where relationships flourish. They strive to ensure that every child and every family in their community can grow and aspire to achieve their dreams and passions.

The school has adopted a school-to-school collaboration approach through their Pencoedtre Learning Community. This has given them real strength and depth in terms of pooling thinking and resources. Working in a cluster of 5 schools, has created additional provisions, learning opportunities and clubs for children, made possible by an exchange of resources, staff and flexible working options. This approach has also allowed the schools to extend the school day.

Community Focused Schools Manager, Hannah Cogbill says: 

We’ve changed the culture. By extending the school day, the school feels like an extension of the home to students, and they feel more comfortable and engaged.

The school staff have developed a whole-school approach to relationships and interventions where family and community involvement is not seen as a bolt on to their work, but a key part of all that they do. The school is a hub for both children and their parents, where they can receive physical, mental and emotional support, especially in times of need. 

The cluster have worked with outside agencies, for example a project has been piloted with Families First, whereby a councillor has been seconded to each school once every 2 weeks. This provides parents with additional support, including financial, educational and housing advice. The school see this as a vital extension of services to parents who may not always have access to this support and information.

As part of their community focus the school has developed the 'Big Bocs Bwyd' programme. This includes a 'Pay as you feel' shop offering fresh fruit, vegetables and essentials. The school has also introduced 'Cadog's Café', offering the community an opportunity to socialise, make friends and live better by making healthy choices affordable. The café is at the heart of the Cadoxton community.

Positive impacts of approaches taken

With the approaches taken the school have seen great impacts on the school and wider community, including: 

  • better attendance rates 
  • children being more engaged with learning 
  • children wanting to spend more time on the school site 
  • better parental engagement and communication between parents and school staff
  • a more welcoming and supportive experience for parents, encouraging them to spend more time on the school site and giving them the confidence to express any needs or concerns they have more easily.

Headteacher, Janet Hayward, says: 

A lot of this work is about removing barriers for families and developing trust through everything that we do. We’re getting success with that. Success then breeds success, which enables us then to go further in breaking down barriers for our families.

Next steps as a Community Focused School

As part of the cluster, the school has seen great successes from the initiatives so far. The next step is to take this evidence as a group to access funding to create more opportunities for the schools and community. This collective vision and impact is very powerful to funders. The school want to create a legacy and a way of communicating and working, that is the foundation for generations to come and serves the community and schools for an aspirational future.