A VILLAGE primary school has received national praise after giving pupils a strong voice in how their school is run.

Ysgol Pant Pastynog in Prion, which has 78 pupils, was inspected by Estyn in June and was rated ‘excellent’ in three of the five areas assessed.

Now the education inspectorate for Wales has spotlighted the school on its website for the way its pupils benefit from being given opportunities to shape the direction of their education.

Older pupils get to be members of school committees such as an eco council and digital leaders, as well as a church committee, sports and Welsh language ambassadors and road safety officers.

The school has also been involved in a recycling project organised by Llanrhaeadr Community Council and the St Dyfnog’s Well project to restore a 6th century heritage site.

The citation on Estyn’s website said pupils “are encouraged to help set a clear vision and strategy for the school’s future” which “allowed them to use their voice to make decisions about the direction of their lessons”.

It said the approach “is helping to create independent learners” and that as a result “pupils’ self-confidence and communications skills have improved”.

The inspectorate added: “Pupils have much greater ownership of their schemes of work and, as a result, their enthusiasm and desire to learn are significant.

“This can be seen as external agencies hold workshops at the school and observe how skilfully and confidently pupils solve problems independently”.

Dafydd Rhys, headteacher of Ysgol Pant Pastynog, said term-time has become more exciting for both pupils and teachers because the topics they cover are more varied.

“We have created more roles for pupils and given them meaning and purpose so that it is not just on paper,” he said. “Pupils do actually steer the way their learning goes.

“Even if they wanted to learn about Harry Potter we could find ways to cover maths, language and science through that.”

Cllr Huw Hilditch- Roberts, Denbighshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, children and young people, said Ysgol Pant Pastynog has “a great ethos … where pupils are able to express their views and ideas”.