St John Lloyd RC Primary School – Using the Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative to Improve Standards for MAT Pupils

Name of school:  St John Lloyd RC Primary School

Lead persons(s): Nicola Lewis and Lucy Brazil

Role of lead person(s): Teachers (TLR)

Lead person(s) e-mail address:

Lead person telephone number: 029 20777690

Local Authority(ies): Cardiff

Phase(s): Primary

Context and background to case study:

St John Lloyd RC Primary School is located in the Trowbridge area of Cardiff catering for children age 3 to 11. The school currently has 276 pupils on roll with 24 FTE.

The decision to become involved in the Welsh Heritage Schools’ Initiative (WHSI) was in order to address some of the main focus areas of the school improvement plan for 2016/2017. This included:

  • Raising the standards of pupil achievement to strive for excellence for MAT pupils;
  • The enhancement of the learning environment through new technologies; and
  • Widening pupils’ curriculum experience beyond the school.

In the first instance, an after school club was set up for a group of identified MAT children in Year 6. The children were given a brief synopsis of the initiative and then had time to look at previous projects on the WHSI website. The aim was for the children to work collaboratively to decide on their own focus for the project, giving them complete ownership of it. The children decided to focus their project on Cardiff Castle entitling it ‘The Castle that Captivates’.

The project evolved with the children as they researched the Castle from the Romans in 55 AD to date. The focus was the importance of the castle in the development of the city of Cardiff in order to answer the question: Would Cardiff be the city it is today without its castle?

Nature of strategy or activity:

The children put together a plan for their project which started with online research and a visit to the castle. As the project progressed the children were given the responsibility for making the decisions on where to find information, how to use it and then present it. This developed their historical skills in analysing and interpreting different sources of information and their literacy skills to read and interpret information, selecting relevant details and information.

There was a strong emphasis on using skills learnt through the DCF. This included using Minecraft to produce a virtual tour of the castle, iMovie to produce film trailers (one of which was uploaded and shared to the wider community through the Cardiff Castle website and news reports, Green Screen for presentations from historical figures who once lived in the castle and Book Creator to present information.

They also developed their oracy skills through their presentations using ICT and their final sharing of their project with the school, parents, local community, governing body, staff from Cardiff Castle as well as the judges. Children decided what to include, where to find information and how to present it.

Their writing skills were developed through ICT. The children also wrote articles for newsletters, questionnaires and for a display which was shared in the local library.

Impact on provision, teaching and learning and/or leadership:

As a result of this project the children were able to consolidate and further develop their ICT skills. This was acknowledged with a prize of a film making workshop at the awards ceremony in July. The workshop will be used to improve and raise the standards of the project in the next academic year. The children used the skills they learned to support their peers and younger children in ICT. It also had a positive impact on the ICT skills of the two lead teachers.

Also the project succeeded in improving links with the local and wider community. In addition to the sharing of the project as detailed above, it was also shared on the Archdiocese website and in an article for the ‘Catholic Universe’.

The project raised awareness of our local area not only for the group of children involved, but also for the whole school and local community.

Based on the success of the pupils, we will continue with WHSI this year. The aim is to make the project a part of the curriculum throughout the school with a group of identified MAT children in KS2 leading it. In the words of one of the pupils who took part:

“It was great fun. I learned so much and I improved my IT skills enormously. It was wonderful to understand how Cardiff Castle helped to shape the City of Cardiff, the capital of Wales and made me realise what a rich heritage we have.”

Where is the effective practice recognised?

Clive Thomas - Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative

St John Lloyd RC School were recognised in the Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative Awards 2017 for their effective work with Into Film Cymru.